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however, enow of us to fall before them, and to be enflaved by them: One or the other of which must certainly be the Fate of all the Inhabitants of every Country, where these perfidious and bloody People obtain the Maftery. I am,
America, Aug. 1, 1755.
Dear Sir, &c.
P. S. Don't you think me an unhappy Man? Driven out of France, as you know I firft was together with my Parents, in Infancy, by that hoary Tyrant Louis XIV. into Holland: From thence refiding fome Years in England. And now fettling, as thought, for the laft Time, in order to spend the Remainder of my Days in thefe Solitudes, to have the Repofe of my old Age broken by Men whom I am afhamed to call my Countrymen: As they are indeed no other than the common Enemies and fworn Disturbers of Mankind, refolving that no Body fhall ever have any Enjoyment of Life, till they become their Subjects; when it will be impoffible they fhould have any.
STATE of AFFAIRS in 1756.
HE Time is now come in which every English
man expects to be informed of the National Affairs, and in which he has a Right to have that Expectation gratified. For whatever may be urged by Minifters, or those whom Vanity or Interest make the Followers of Minifters, concerning the Neceffity of Confidence in our Governors, and the Prefumption of prying with profane Eyes into the Receffes of Policy, it is evident, that this Reverence can be claimed only by Counsels yet unexecuted, and Projects fufpended in Deliberation. But when a Defign has ended in Mifcarriage or Succefs, when every Eye and every Ear is Witnefs to general Discontent, or general Satisfaction, it is then a proper Time to difentangle Confufion, and illuftrate Obfcurity, to fhew by what Caufes every Event was produced, and in what Effects it is likely to terminate: To lay down with diftinct Particularity what Rumour always huddles in general Exclamations, or perplexes by undigefted Narratives; to fhew whence Happiness or Calamity is derived, and whence it may be expected; and honestly to lay before the People what Inquiry gan gather of the Paft, and Conjecture can eftimate of the Future.
The general Subject of the present War is fufficiently known. It is allowed on both Sides, that VOL. III. Hoftilities
Hoftilities began in America, and that the French and English quarrelled about the Boundaries of their Settlements, about Grounds and Rivers to which, I am afraid, neither can fhew any other Right than that of Power, and which neither can occupy but by Ufurpation, and the Difpoffeffion of the natural Lords and original Inhabitants. Such is the Contest, that no honest Man can heartily with Success to either Party.
It may indeed be alledged, that the Indians have granted large Tracts of Land both to one and to the other; but these Grants can add little to the Validity of our Titles, till it be experienced how they were obtained: For if they were extorted by Violence, or induced by Fraud; by Threats, which the Miseries of other Nations had fhewn not to be vain, or by Promifes of which no Performance was ever intended, what are they but new Modes of Ufurpation, but new Inftances of Cruelty and Treachery?
And indeed what but falfe Hope or refiftlefs Terror can prevail upon a weaker Nation to invite a ftronger into their Country, to give their Lands to Strangers whom no Affinity of Manners, or Similitude of Opinion, can be faid to recommend, to permit them to build Towns from which the Natives are excluded, to raife Fortreffes by which they are intimidated, to fettle themselves with fuch: Strength, that they cannot afterwards be expelled, but are for ever to remain the Mafters of the original Inhabitants, the Dictators of their Conduct, and the Arbiters of their Fate?
When we fee Men acting thus against the Precepts of Reason, and the Inftincts of Nature, we cannot hesitate to determine, that by fome Means or other they were debarred from Choice; that they were lured or frighted into Compliance; that they either granted only what they found impoffible to
keep, or expected Advantages upon the Faith of their new Inmates, which there was no Purpose to confer upon them. It cannot be faid, that the Indians originally invited us to their Coafts; we went uncalled and unexpected to Nations who had no Imagination that the Earth contained any Inhabitants fo diftant and fo different from themselves. We aftonished them with our Ships, with our Arms, and with our general Superiority, They yielded to us as to Beings of another and higher Race, fent among them from fome unknown Regions, with Power which naked Indians could not refist, and which they were therefore, by every Act of Humility, to propitiate, that they, who could fo eafily destroy, might be induced to spare.
To this Influence, and to this only, are to be attributed all the Ceffions and Submiffions of the Indian Princes, if indeed any fuch Ceffions were ever made, of which we have no Witness but those who claim from them, and there is no great Malignity in fufpecting, that those who have robbed
have alfo lied.
Some Colonies indeed have been established more peaceably than others. The utmost Extremity of Wrong has not always been practifed; but those that have fettled in the New World on the fairest Terms, have no other Merit than that of a Scrivener who ruins in Silence, over a Plunderer that feizes by Force; all have taken what had other Owners, and all have had Recourfe to Arms, rather than quit the Prey on which they had fastened.
The American Difpute between the French and us is therefore only the Quarrel of two Robbers for the Spoils of a Pallenger; but as Robbers have Terms of Confederacy, which they are obliged to obferve as Members of the Gang, fo the English and French may have relative Rights, and do Injuftice to each other, while both are injuring the Indians. And
fuch, indeed, is the prefent Contest: They have parted the Northern Continent of America between them, and are now difputing about their Boundaries, and each is endeavouring the Destruction of the other by the Help of the Indians, whofe Interest it is that both fhould be destroyed.
Both Nations clamour with great Vehemence about Infractions of Limits, Violation of Treaties, open Ufurpation, infidious Artifices, and Breach of Faith. The English rail at the perfidious French, and the French at the encroaching English; they quote Treaties on each Side, charge each other with afpiring to univerfal Monarchy, and complain on either Part of the Infecurity of Poffeffion near such turbulent Neighbours.
Through this Mift of Controverfy it can raise no Wonder that the Truth is not easily discovered. When a Quarrel has been long carried on between Individuals, it is often very hard to tell by whom it was begun. Every Fact is darkened by Diftance, by Intereft, and by Multitudes. Information is not eafily procured from far; thofe whom the Truth will not favour, will not ftep voluntarily forth to tell it; and where there are many Agents, it is eafy for every fingle Action to be concealed.
All these Caufes concur to the Obfcurity of the Question, "By whom were Hoftilities in America commenced?" Perhaps there never can be remembered a Time in which Hoftilities had ceased. Two powerful Colonies enflamed with immemorial Rivalry, and placed out of the Superintendance of the Mother Nations, were not likely to be long at Reft. Some Oppofition was always going forward, fome Mischief was every Day done or meditated, and the Borderers were always better pleased with what they could snatch from their Neighbours, than what they had of their own.