How do i stop Mail from downloading all my old messages without deleting them

Hello there,
    i've just bought a new 13 inch macbook pro, and i'm very happy with it. Being sort of new to apple i still have some problems though.
the main one concerns mail:   How do I prevent my laptop from downloading thousands of old messages i had stored on my gmail account?
let me be clearer: i set mail up and it instantly started downloading tons of old messages that i don't want stored on my mac, since it only has 128gb storage, but i'd still like to be able to look for them in case I needed to.  so i don't want to permanently erase them, get rid of them here to save some space.
is that possible? and if yes how?
I also have an other problem with Mail and it's the fact that gmail doesn't let me send pages files...it says it could be a dangerous file so it stops me.  
any solutions?
thanks to all of you

Csound1 wrote:
disguise wrote:
Sounds to me like your using iCloud to sync mail - but you don't want mail sync'd.
System Preferences -> iCloud
uncheck Mail
The OP is using Gmail, not iCloud.
How do I prevent my laptop from downloading thousands of old messages i had stored on my gmail account?
Unchecking Mail will do nothing at all.
And as Gmail is an Imap account it will download all mail in the account to the client.
If this is unwanted behaviour use a different email system (a POP system) or remove the mail from the Gmail server.
Gmail  can be configured as POP or IMAP

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