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cessation of war deprived of employment, and made burdensome to their country ; and settlers were allured thither by many fallacious descriptions of fertile vallies and clear skies. What effects these pictures of American happiness had upon my countrymen, I was never informed, but I suppose very few sought provision in those frozen regions, whom guilt or poverty did not drive from their native country. About the boundaries of this new colony there were some disputes, but as there was nothing yet worth a contest, the power of the French was not much exerted on that side ; some disturbance was however given, and some skirmishes ensued. But perhaps being peopled chiefly with soldiers, who would rather live by plunder than by agriculture, and who consider war as their best trade, New Scotland would be more obstinately defended than some settlements of far greater yalue ; and the French are too well informed of their own interest, to provoke hostility for no advantage, or to select that country for invasion, where they must hazard much, and can win little. They therefore pressed on southward behind our ancient and wealthy settlements, and built fort after fort at such distances that they might conveniently relieve one another, invade our colonies with sudden incursions, and retire to places of safety before our people could unite to oppose them.
This design of the French has been long formed, and long known, both in America and Europe, and might at first have been easily repressed, had force been used instead of expostulation. When the English attempted a settlement upon the island of St. Lucia, the French, whether justly or not, considering it as neutral and for
bidden to be occupied by either nation, immediately landed upon it, and destroyed the houses, wasted the plantations, and drove or carried away the inhabitants. This was done in the time of peace, when mutual professions of friendship were daily exchanged by the two courts, and was not considered as any violation of trea. ties, nor was any more than a very soft remonstrance made on our part.
The French therefore taught us how to act ; but an Hanoverian quarrel with the house of Austria for some time induced us to court, at any expense, the alliance of a nation whose very situation makes them our enemies. We suffered them to destroy our settlements, and to ad. vance their own, which we had an equal right to attack. The time however came at last, when we ventured to quarrel with Spain, and then France no longer suffered the appearance
of peace to subsist between us, but armed in defence of her ally.
The events of the war are well known ; we pleased ourselves with a victory at Dettingen, where we left our wounded men to the care of our enemies, but our army was broken at Fontenoy and Val ; and though after the disgrace which we suffered in the Mediterranean, we had some naval success, and an accidental dearth made peace necessary for the French, yet they prescribed the conditions, obliged us to give hostages, and acted as conquerors, though as conquerors of moderation.
In this war the Americans distinguished themselves in a manner unknown and unexpected. The New English raised an army, and under the command of Pepperel, took Cape Breton, with the assistance of the fleet. This
is the most important fortress in America. We pleased ourselves so much with the acquisition, that we could not think of restoring it; and, among the arguments used to inflame the people against Charles Stuart, it was very clamorously urged, that if he gained the kingdom, he would give Cape Breton back to the French.
The French however had a more easy expedient to regain Cape Breton than by exalting Charles Stuart to the English throne. They took in their turn fort St. George, and had our East India company wholly in their power, whoin they restored at the peace to their former possessions, that they may continue to export our silver.
Cape Breton therefore was restored, and the French were reestablished in America, with equal power and greater spirit, having lost nothing by the war which they had before gained.
To the general reputation of their arms, and that habitual superiority which they derive from it, they owe their power in America, rather than to any real strength, or circumstances of advantage. Their numbers are yet not great; their trade, though daily improved, is not very extensive ; their country is barren ; their fortresses, though numerous, are weak, and rather shelters from wild beasts, or savage nations, than places built for defence against bombs or cannons. Cape Breton has been found not to be impregnable ; nor, if we consider the state of the places possessed by the two nations in America, is there any reason upon which the French: should have presumed to molest us, but that they thought our spirit so broken that we durst not resist them; and
in this opinion our long forbearance easily confirmed them.
We forgot, or rather avoided to think, that what we delayed to do must be done at last, and done with more difficulty, as it was delayed longer; that while we were complaining, and they were eluding, or answering our complaints, fort was rising upon fort, and one invasion made a precedent for another.
This confidence of the French is exalted by some real advantages. If they possess in those countries less than we, they have more to gain, and less to hazard ; if they are less numerous, they are better united.
The French compose one body with one head. They have all the same interest, and agree to pursue it by the
They are subject to a governor commissioned by an absolute monarch, and participating the authority of his master. Designs are therefore formed without debate, and execute;ł without impediment. They have yet more martial than mercantile ambition, and seldom suffer their military schemes to be entangled with collateral projects of gain; they have no wish but for conquest, of which they justly consider riches as the consequence.
Some advantages they will always have as invaders. They make war at the hazard of their enemies; the contest being carried on in our territories, we must lose more by a victory, than they will suffer by a defeat. They will subsist, while they stay, upon our plantations ; and perhaps destroy them when they can stay no longer. If we pursue them, and carry the war into their domino ions, our difficulties will increase every step as we
advance, for we shall leave plenty behind us, and find nothing in Canada but lakes and forests barren and trackless ; our enemies will shut themselves up in their forts, against which it is difficult to bring cannon through so rough a country, and which, if they are provided with good magazines will soon starve those who besiege them.
All these are the natural effects of their government and situation ; they are accidentally more formidable as they are less happy. But the favour of the Indians, which they enjoy, with a very few exceptions, among all the nations of the northern continent, we ought to consider with other thoughts; this favour we might have enjoyed, if we had been careful to deserve it. The French, by having these savage nations on their side, are always supplied with spies and guides, and with auxiliaries, like the Turtars to the Turks, or the Hussars to the Germans, of no great use against troops ranged in order of battle, but very well qualified to maintain a war among woods and rivulets, where much mischief may be done by unexpected onsets, and safety be obtained by quick retreats They can waste a colony by sudden inroads, surprise the straggling planters, frighten the inhabitants into towns, hinder the cultivation of lands, and starve those whom they are not able to conquer.