have failed to feel the deepest solicitude in reference to the subject-matter of that communication from the very great extent of her underfended sea-coast and the remembrance of the suffering of the people of this State in former wars; and in her behalf I desire to tender my most cordial thanks for this wise and thoughtful recognition by the General Government of what her position and circumstances demand.
Without recounting the facts of the early history of that portion of the continent now included within the limits of the present State of Maine-the contests between France and England for its possession, and the Indian cruelties that follow in the train of war, by which its villages and towns were devastated-I need only to remind Your Excellency to impress on the Government the vast importance of Maine, in a military and naval point of view, as a means of power and strength to the national Government.
Its shores are intended with many excellent harbors, and its geographical position for military, naval, and commercial purposes commands the finest portion of the continent of North America.
The failure of the French to hold the shores of the Atlantic Ocean between Piscataqua and Sagadahoc and maintain their communication between Montreal and the sea, lost to them the noblest colonial empire the world has ever seen.
Though settled by the French as early as 1604, and by the English in 1608, under separate grants, covering the entire territory- that from the French King dated in 1603 and that from the British Crown in 1606-it was not until the conquest of Canada, by the capture of Quebec in 1759, that Maine enjoyed peace and repose under the dominion of Great Britain. During the war of the Revolution the bulk of her territory was in the possession of the English, and the war of 1812 found her coast defenseless, and all her eastern harbors, from Castine to the Saint Croix River, occupied by the enemy.
Should war again occur with any leading European power, Maine must fall at once into the hands of the enemy, unless means of defense are provided.
From the State line at Kittery to the West Quoddy Head, in a coast line of 300 miles, there are over 100 good harbors at which ships are built and manned, with an actual shore-line of more than 3,000 miles, following the line of tide water into navigable bays, inlets, and depriver estuaries. Not one harbor is properly defended, and in only three have attempts at defense been made.
A slight breast-work battery at Eastport, called Fort Sullivan; Fort Knox, partially constructed at Bucksport Narrows, on the Penobscot, and the forts at Portland Harbor are all the fortifications on the coast of Maine.
Castine, the British naval station on the Atlantic Ocean in the war of 1812, could again be occupied in the same way, for all the defenses of former times have fallen to ruin and decay. Belfast, Rockland, George's River, Wiscasset, and the Kennebec River are all without any sign of defense. The important shipping port of Bath, the city of Augusta (the State capital), and the larger towns on the Kennebec are all at the mercy of a single sloop-of- war.
The highest military authorities would undoubtedly concur in the opinion that Portland should be made the great naval depot of the United States on the Atlantic Ocean. Its geographical position commands Canada on the north and the lower provinces on the east, if