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Provinces supported themselves: which teaches us,
[6. The French remaining in Canada, an encouragement to disaffections in the British Colonies.—If they provę a check, that check of the most barbarous nature.]
If the visionary danger of independence in our colonies is to be feared; nothing is more likely to render it substantial, than the neighbourhood of foreigners at enmity with the sovereign governments, capable of giving either aid *, or an asylum, as the event shall require. Yet against even these disadvantages, did Spain preserve almost ten provinces, merely through their want of union; which indeed could never have taken place among the
The aid Dr. Franklin alludes to must probably have consisted in early and full supplies of arms, officers, intelligence, and trade of export and of import, through the river St. Lawrence, ou risques both public and private; in the encouragement of splendid promises and a great ally; in the passage from Canada to the back settlements, being shut to the British forces; in the quiet of the great body of Indians; in the support of emissaries and discontented citizens; in loans and subsidies to congress, in ways profitable to France; in a refuge to be granted them in case of defcat, in vacant lands, as settlers; in the probability of war commencing earlier between England and France, at the gulph of St. Lawrence (when the shipping taken, were rightfully addressed to Frenchmen) than in the present case. All this might have happened, as soon as America's distaste of the sovereign had exceeded the fear of the foreigner; a circumstance frequently seen possible in history, and which our ministers took care should not be wanting.
This explanation would have required apology for its insertion, were not the opinion pretty common in England, that had not the French been removed from Canada, the revolt of America never would have taken place. Why then were the French not left in Canada, at the peace of 1763? Or, since they were not left there, why was the American dispute begun? Yet in one sense, perhaps this opinion is true; for had the French been left in Canada, ministers would not only have sooner felt, but sooner have seen, the strange fatality of their plans. B. V.
others, but for causes, some of which are in our case impossible, and others it is impious to suppose possible.
The Romans well understood that policy, which teaches the security arising to the chief government from separate states among the governed; when they restored the liberties of the states of Greece (oppressed but united under Macedon) by an edict, that every state should live under its own laws. They did not even name a governor. Independence of each other, and separate interests (though among a people united by common manners, language, and I may say religion; inferior neither in wisdom, bravery, nor their love of liberty, to the Romans themselves ;) was all the security the sovereigns wished for their sovereignty. It is true, they did not call themselves sovereigns; they set no value on the title; they were contented with possessing the thing. And possess it they did, even without a standing army: (what can be a stronger proof of the security of their possession?) And yet by a policy, similar to this throughout, was the Roman world subdued and held: a world composed of above an hundred languages, and sets of manners, different from those of their masters. Yet this dominion was unshakeable, till the loss of liberty and corruption of manners in the sovereign state overturned it.
But what is the prudent policy inculcated by the remarker to obtain this end, security of dominion over our colonies? It is, to leave the French in Canada, to "check" their growth; for otherwise, our people may "increase infinitely from all causes*." We have already
seen in what manner the French and their Indians check the growth of our colonies. It is a modest word, *Remarks, p. 50, 51.
this check, for massacring men, women, and children. The writer would, if he could, hide from himself as well as from the public, the horror arising from such a proposal, by couching it in general terms: it is no wonder he thought it a " subject not fit for discussion" in his letter; though he recommends it as "a point that should be the constant object of the minister's attention!" But if Canada is restored on this principle, will not Britain be guilty of all the blood to be shed, all the murders to be committed, in order to check this dreaded growth of our own people? Will not this be telling the French in plain terms, that the horrid barbarities they perpetrate with their Indians on our colonists are agreeable to us; and that they need not apprehend the resentment of a government, with whose views they so happily concur? Will not the colonies view it in this light? Will they have reason to consider themselves any longer as subjects and children, when they find their cruel enemies hallooed upon them by the country from whence they sprung; the government that owes them protection, as it requires their obedience? Is not this the most likely means of driving them into the arms of the French, who can invite them by an offer of that security, their own government chuses not to afford them? I would not be thought to insinuate, that the remarker wants humanity. I know how little many good-natured persons are affected by the distresses of people at a distance, and whom they do not know. There are even those, who, being present, can sympathize sincerely with the grief of a lady on the sudden death of a favourite bird; and yet can read of the sinking of a city in Syria with very little concern. If it be, after all, thought necessary to check the
the growth of our colonies, give me leave to propose a method less cruel. It is a method of which we have an example in scripture. The murder of husbands, of wives, of brothers, sisters and children, whose pleasing society has been for some time enjoyed, affects deeply the respective surviving relations; but grief for the death of a child just born is short, and easily supported. The method I mean is that which was dictated by the Egyptian policy, when the "infinite increase" of the children of Israel was apprehended as dangerous to the state*. Let an act of parliament then be made, enjoining the colony midwives to stifle in the birth every third or fourth child. By this means you may keep the colonies to their present size. And if they were under the hard alternative of submitting to one or the other of these schemes for checking their growth, I dare answer for them, they would prefer the latter.
But all this debate about the propriety or impropriety of keeping or restoring Canada is possibly too early. We have taken the capital indeed, but the country is yet far from being in our possession; and perhaps never will be for if our m―rs are persuaded by such counsellors as the remarker, that the French there are "not the worst of neighbours," and that if we had conquered Canada, we ought, for our own sakes, to restore it, as a check to the growth of our colonies; I am then afraid we shall never take it. For there are many ways of avoiding the completion of the conquest, that
* And Pharoah said unto his people, behold the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; come on, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. And the king spake to the Hebrew midwives, c. Exodus, chap. 1.
will be less exceptionable and less odious than the giving it up.
[7. Canada easily peopled, without draining Great Britain of any of its inhabitants.]
The objection I have often heard, that if we had Canada we could not people it, without draining Britain of its inhabitants, is founded on ignorance of the nature of population in new countries. When we first began to colonize in America, it was necessary to send people, and to send seed-corn; but it is not now necessary that we should furnish, for a new colony, either one or the other. The annual increment alone of our present colonies, without diminishing their numbers, or requiring a man from hence, is sufficient in ten years to fill Canada with double the number of English that it now has of French inhabitants. Those who are protestants among the French will probably choose to remain under the English government; many will choose to remove, if they can be allowed to sell their lands, improvements, and effects: the rest in that thin-settled country will in less than half a century, from the crowds of English settling round and among them, be blended and incorporated with our people both in language and manners.
[8. The merits of Guadaloupe to Great Britain over-valued; yet likely to be paid much dearer for, than Canada.]
In Guadaloupe the case is somewhat different; and though I am far from thinking we have sugar-land
* In fact, there have not gone from Britain [itself] to our colonies these twenty years past to settle there, so many as ten families a year; the new settlers are either the offspring of the old, or emigrants from Germany, or the not th of Ireland.
+ Remarks, p. 30, 34.