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same interest, as opposed to France, and some resemblance of religion, as opposed to Popery; but we have such a rivalry, in respect of commerce, as will always keep us from very close adherence to each other. No mercantile man, or mercantile nation, has any friendship but for
money, and alliance between them will last no longer than their common safety or common profit is endangered; no longer than they have an enemy, who threatens to take from each more than either can steal from the other.
We were both sufficiently interested in repressing the ambition, and obstructing the commerce of France; and therefore we concurred with as much fidelity and as regular co-operation as is commonly found. The Dutch were in immediate danger, the armies of their enemies hovered over their country, and therefore they were obliged to dismiss for a time their love of money, and their narrow projects of private profit, and to do what a trader does not willingly at any time believe necessary, to sacrifice a part for the preservation of the whole.
A peace was at length made, and the French with their usual vigour and industry rebuilt their fleets, restored their commerce, and became in a very few years able to contest again the dominion of
Their ships were well-built, and always very numerously manned; their commanders, having no hopes but from their bravery or their fortune, were resolute, and being very carefully educated for the sea, were eminently skilful.
All this was soon perceived, when queen Anne, the then darling of England, declared war against
France. Our success by sea, though sufficient to keep us from dejection, was not such as dejected our enemies. It is, indeed, to be confessed, that we did not exert our whole naval strength; Marlborough was the governour of our counsels, and the great view of Marlborough was a war by land, which he knew well how to conduct, both to the honour of his country, and his own profit. The fleet was therefore starved that the army might be supplied, and naval advantages were neglected for the sake of taking a town in Flanders, to be garrisoned by our allies. The French, however, were so weakened by one defeat after another, that, though their fleet was never destroyed by any total overthrow, they at last retained it in their harbours, and applied their whole force to the resistance of the confederate army, that now began to approach their frontiers, and threatened to lay waste their provinces and cities.
In the latter years of this war, the danger of their neighbourhood in America seems to have been considered, and a fleet was fitted out and supplied with a proper number of land forces to seize Quebec, the capital of Canada, or New France; but this expedition miscarried, like that of Anson against the Spaniards, by the lateness of the season, and our ignorance of the coasts on which we were to act. We returned with loss, and only excited our enemies to greater vigilance, and perhaps to stronger fortifications.
When the peace of Utrecht was made, which those who clamoured among us most loudly against it, found it their interest to keep, the French applied themselves with the utmost industry to the extension of their trade, which we were so far from hindering, that for many years our ministry thought their friendship of such value, as to be cheaply purchased by whatever concession.
Instead therefore of opposing, as we had hitherto professed to do, the boundless ambition of the House of Bourbon, we became on a sudden soli. citous for its exaltation, and studious of its interest. We assisted the schemes of France and Spain with our fleets, and endeavoured to make those our friends by servility, whom nothing but power will keep quiet, and who must always be our enemies while they are endeavourïng to grow greater, and we determine to remain free.
That nothing might be omitted which could testify our willingness to continue on any terms the good friends of France, we were content to assist not only their conquests but their traffick; and though we did not openly repeal the prohibitory laws, we yet tamely suffered commerce to be carried on between the two nations, and wool was daily imported, to enable them to make cloth, which they carried to our markets and sold cheaper than we.
During all this time, they were extending and strengthening their settlements in America, contriving new modes of traffick, and framing new alliances with the Indian nations. - They began now to find these northern regions, barren and desolate as they are, sufficiently valuable to desire at least a nominal possession, that might furnish a pretence for the exclusion of others; they therefore extended their claim to tracts of land, which
they could never hope to occupy, took care to give their dominions an unlimited magnitude, have given in their maps the name of Louisiana to a country, of which part is claimed by the Spaniards, and part by the English, without any regard to ancient boundaries, or prior discovery.
When the return of Columbus from his great voyage had filled all Europe with wonder and curiosity, Henry the Seventh sent Sebastian Cabot to try what could be found for the benefit of England: he declined the track of Columbus, and steering to the westward, fell upon the island, which, from that time, was called by the English, Newfoundland. Our princes seem to have considered themselves as entitled by their right of prior seizure to the northern parts of America, as the Spaniards were allowed by universal consent their claim to the southern region for the same reason; and we accordingly made our principal settlements within the limits of our own discoveries, and, by degrees, planted the eastern coast from Newfoundland to Georgia.
As we had, according to the European principles, which allow nothing to the natives of these regions, our choice of situation in this extensive country, we naturally fixed our habitations along the coast, for the sake of traffick and correspondence, and all the conveniencies of navigable rivers. And when one port or river was occupied, the next colony, instead of fixing themselves in the inland parts behind the former, went on southward, till they pleased themselves with another maritime situation. For this reason our colonies have more
length thán depth; their extent from east to west, or from the sea to the interior country, bears no proportion to their reach along the coast from north to south, . It
It was, however, understood, by a kind of tacit compact among the commercial powers, that possession of the coast included a right to the inland: and, therefore, the charters granted to the several colonies limit their districts only from north to south, leaving their possessions from east to west unlimited and discretional, supposing that, as the colony increases, they may take lands as they shall want them, the possession of the coasts excluding other navigators, and the unhappy Indians having no right of nature or of nations.
This right of the first European possessor was not disputed till it became the interest of the French to question it. Canada, or New-France, on which they made their first settlement, is situated eastward of our colonies, between which they pass up the great river of St. Lawrence, with Newfoundland on the north, and Nova Scotia on the south. Their establishment in this country was neither envied nor hindered; and they lived here, in no great numbers, a long time, neither molesting their European neighbours, nor molested by them.
But when they grew stronger and more nume. rous, they began to extend their territories; and as it is natural for men to seek their own conve, nience, the desire of more fertile and agreeable habitations tempted them southward. There is land enough to the north and west of their settlements, which they may occupy with as good right