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island of St Lucia, the French, whether justly or not, considering it as neutral and forbidden to be occupied by either nation, immediately landed upon it, and destroyed the houses, wasted the plan, tations, 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 treaties, nor was any more than very soft rer onstrance 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 expence, the alliance of a nation whose very situation makes them our enemies. We suffered them to destroy our settlements, and to advance 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 suf, fered the
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 ne, cessary 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 com,
mand of Pepperel took Cape-Breton, with the assistance of the feet. 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, whom 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 re-established 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 o’r complaints, fort was rising upon fort, and one invasion made a prece. dent 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 same means. 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 executed 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 in. vaders. 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 dominions, 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 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 Tartars 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.
THE POLITICAL STATE
Written in the Year 1756.
THE present system of English politics may properly be said to have taken rise in the reign of
At this time, the Protestant religion was established, which naturally allied us to the reformed state, and made all the popish powers our enemies.
We began in the same reign to extend our trade, by which we made it necessary to ourselves to watch the commercial progress of our neighbours; and, if not to incommode and obstruct their traffick, to hinder them from impairing ours.
We then likewise settled colonies in America, which was become the great scene of European ambition; for, seeing with what treasures the Spaniards were annually enriched from Mexico and