You see then, Sir, by this summary sketch of the points in contest, that the war being once engaged, it will not be so easy a matter as many in Europe imagine, to adjust the pretensions, so various and so important, of the respective nations, so as to be able to procure a peace. Some, of the points appear to me absolutely untreatable. You may observe too, that I do not so much as touch upon the dispute about Tabago, Santa-Lucia, or any of the Leeward islands, which are not, however, of small consequence. In short, the war must, in all human probability, be a much longer one, than is commonly believed. Neither nation can materially relax of its claims, without such a thorough sacrifice of its interest in America, as nothing but the last extremities of weakness can compel.
Long as this letter is, I cannot yet close it without mentioning to you a singular phenomenon of nature, in the island of St. John. You know it is a flat, level island, chiefly formed out of the congestion of sand and soil from the sea. Tradition, experience, and authentic public acts (Proces verbaux) concur to attest that every seven years, it is visited by swarms either of locusts, or of field-mice, alternately, never together; without its being possible to discover hitherto either the reason, or the origin of these two species, which thus in their turns, at the end of every seventh year, pour out all of a sudden in amazing numbers, and having committed their ravages on all the fruits of the earth, precipitate themselves into the sea. Neither has any preventive remedy for this evil been yet discovered. It is well known how they perish, but, once more, how they are produced no one, that I could learn, has as yet been able to trace. The field-mice are undoubtedly something in the nature of those swarms of the sable-mice, that sometimes over-run Lapland and Norway, though I do not know that these return so regularly, and at such stated periods, as those of this island.
I am, Sir,
Your most obedient,