« AnteriorContinuar »
as can be shewn by the other European usurpers, and which neither the English nor Spaniards will contest; but of this cold region they have enough already, and their resolution was to get a better country. This was not to be had but by settling to the west of our plantations, on ground which has been hitherto supposed to belong to us.
Hither, therefore, they resolved to remove, and to fix, at their own discretion, the western border of our colonies, which was heretofore considered as unlimited. Thus by forming a line of forts, in some measure parallel to the coast, they inclose us between their garrisons and the sea, and not only hinder our extension westward, but, whenever they have a sufficient navy in the sea, can harass us on each side, as they can invade us at pleasure from one or other of their forts.
This design was not perhaps discovered as soon as it was formed, and was certainly not opposed so soon as it was discovered; we foolishly hoped, that their encroachments would stop, that they would be prevailed on by treaty and remonstrance, to give up what they had taken, or to put limits to themselves. We suffered them to establish one settlement after another, to pass boundary after boundary, and add fort to fort, till at last they grew strong enough to avow their designs, and defy us to obstruct them.
By these provocations long continued, we are at length forced into a war, in which we have had hitherto very ill fortune. Our troops under Braddock were dishonourably defeated; our fleets have yet done nothing more than taken a few merchant
ships, and have distressed some private families, but have very little weakened the power of France. The detention of their seamen makes it indeed less easy for them to fit out their navy; but this deficiency will be easily supplied by the alacrity of the nation, which is always eager for war.
It is unpleasing to represent our affairs to our own disadvantage; yet it is necessary to shew the evils which we desire to be removed; and, therefore, some account may very properly be given of the measures which have given them their present superiority.
They are said to be supplied from France with better governours than our colonies have the fate to obtain from England. A French governour is seldom chosen for any other reason than his qualifications for his trust. To be a bankrupt at home, or to be so infamously vicious that he cannot be decently protected in his own country, seldom recommends any man to the government of a French colony. Their officers are commonly skilful either in war or commerce, and are taught to have no expectation of honour or preferment, but from the justice and vigour of their administration.
Their great security is the friendship of the natives, and to this advantage they have certainly an indubitable right; because it is the consequence of their virtue. It is ridiculous to imagine, that the friendship of nations, whether civil or barbarous, can be gained and kept but by kind treatment; and surely they who intrude, uncalled, upon the country of a distant people, ought to consider the natives as worthy of common kind
ness, and content themselves to rob without insulting them. The French, as has been already observed, admit the Indians, by intermarriage, to an equality with themselves; and those nations, with which they have no such near intercourse, they gain over to their interest by honesty in their dealings. Our factors and traders, having no other purpose in view than immediate profit, use all the arts of an European counting-house, to de. fraud the simple hunter of his furs.
These are some of the causes of our present weakness; our planters are always quarrelling with their governour, whom they consider as less to be trusted than the French; and our traders hourly alienate the Indians by their tricks and oppressions, and we continue every day to shew by new proofs, that no people can be great who have ceased to be virtuous.
R E VI E W *
“ MEMOIRS OF THE COURT or AUGUSTUS;
“By THOMAS BLACKWELL, J.U.D. “Principal of MARISHAL-COLLEGE in the University of ABERDEEN.".
IE first effect which this book has upon the
reader is that of disgusting him with the author's vanity. Ileendeavours to persuade the world, that here are some new treasures of literature spread before his eyes; that something is discovered, which to this happy day had been concealed in darkness; that by his diligence time had been robbed of some valuable monument which he was on the point of devouring; and that names and facts doomed to oblivion are now restored to fame.
How must the unlearned reader be surprised, when he shall be told that Mr. Blackwell has neither digged in the ruins of any demolished city, nor found out the way to the library of Fez; nor had a single book in his hands, that has not been in the possession of
every man that was inclined to read it, for years and ages; and that his book relates to a people who above all others have furnished employment to the studious, and amusements to the idle; who have scarcely left behind them a coin or a stone, which has not been examined and explained a thousand times, and whose dress, and food, and household stuff, it has been the pride of learning to understand.
* Literary Magazine, Vol. I. p. 41,
A man need not fear to incur the imputation of vicious diffidence or affected humility, who should have forborn to promise many novelties, when he perceived such multitudes of writers possessed of the same materials, and intent upon the same purpose.
Mr. Blackwell knows well the opinion of Horace, concerning those that open their undertakings with magnificent promises; and he knows likewise the dictates of common sense and common honesty, names of greater authority than that of Horace, who direct that no man should promise what he cannot perform.
I do not mean to declare that this volume has no. thing new, or that the labours of those who have gone before our author, have made his performance an useless addition to the burden of literature. New works may be constructed with old materials, the disposition of the parts may shew contrivance, the ornaments interspersed may discover elegance.
It is not always without good effect that men of proper qualifications write in succession on the same subject, even when the latter add nothing to the information given by the former; for the same ideas may
be delivered more intelligibly or more delightfully by one than by another, or with attractions that may lure minds of a different form. No writer pleases all, and every writer may please some.
But after all, to inherit is not to acquire; to decorate is not to make; and the man who had nothing to do but to read the ancient authors, who