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France. Our fuccefs by fea, though fufficient to keep us from dejection, was not fuch as dejected our enemies. It is, indeed, to be confeffed, that we did not exert our whole naval ftrength; Marl. borough was the governor of our counfels, 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 ftarved that the army might be supplied, and naval advantages were neglected for the fake of taking a town in Flanders, to be garrifoned by our allies. The French, however, were so weakened by one defeat after another, that, though their fleet was never deftroyed by any total overthrow, they at laft retained it in their harbours, and applied their whole force to the refiftance 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 feems to have been confidered, and a fleet was fitted out and supplied with a proper number of land forces to feize Quebec, the capital of Canada, or New France; but this expedition mifcarried, like that of Anfon against the Spaniards, by the lateness of the season, and our ignorance of the coafts on which we were to act. We returned with lofs, 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 moft loudly against it, found it their intereft to keep, the French applied themselves with the utmost induftry to the extenfion of
of their trade, which we were fo far from hindering, that for many years our miniftry thought their friendship of fuch value, as to be cheaply purchased by whatever conceffion.
Instead therefore of oppofing, as we had hitherto profeffed to do, the boundless ambition of the House of Bourbon, we became on a fudden folicitous for its exaltation, and ftudious of its interest. We affifted the schemes of France and Spain with our fleets, and endeavoured to make those our friends by fervility, whom nothing but power will keep quiet, and who must always be our enemies while they are endeavouring to grow greater, and we determine to remain free.
That nothing might be omitted which could teftify our willingness to continue on any terms the good friends of France, we were content to affift not only their conquefts but their traffick; and though we did not openly repeal the prohibitory laws, we yet tamely fuffered 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 fold cheaper than we.
During all this time, they were extending and ftrengthening their fettlements 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 defolate as they are, fufficiently valuable to defire at least a nominal poffeffion, that might furnish a pretence for the exclufion of others; they therefore extended their claim to tracts of land, which they could never hope to occupy, took care to give their dominions VOL. X.
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 curiofity, Henry the Seventh fent Sebaftian Cabot to try what could be found for the benefit of England: he declined the track of Columbus, and, fteering to the weftward, fell upon the ifland, which, from that time, was called by the English, Newfoundland. Our princes feem to have confidered themselves as intitled by their right of prior feizure to the northern parts of America, as the Spaniards were allowed by univerfal confent their claim to the fouthern region for the fame reason, and we accordingly made our principal fettlements within the limits of our own discoveries, and, by degrees, planted the eastern coaft from Newfoundland to Georgia.
As we had, according to the European principles, which allow nothing to the natives of these regions, our choice of fituation in this extenfive country, we naturally fixed our habitations along the coaft, for the fake of traffick and correfpondence, 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 fouthward, till they pleased themfelves with another maritime fituation. For this reafon our colonies have more length than depth; their extent from east to west, or from the sea to the interior
interior country, bears no proportion to their reach along the coaft from north to fouth.
It was, however, understood, by a kind of tacit compact among the commercial powers, that poffeffion of the coaft included a right to the inland; and, therefore, the charters granted to the several colonies limit their districts only from north to fouth, leaving their poffeffions from eaft to weft unlimited and difcretional, fuppofing that, as the colony increases, they may take lands as they shall want them, the poffeffion of the coafts excluding other navigators, and the unhappy Indians having no right of nature or of nations.
This right of the first European poffeffor was not difputed till it became the intereft of the French to queftion it. Canada, or New-France, on which they made their first fettlement, is fituated 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 fouth. Their eftablishment in this country was neither envied nor hindered; and they lived here, in no great numbers, a long time, neither molefting their European neighbours, nor molested by them.
But when they grew stronger and more numerous, they began to extend their territories; and, as it is natural for men to feek their own convenience, the defire of more fertile and agreeable habitations tempted them fouthward. There is land enough to the north and welt of their fettlements, which they may occupy with as good right as can be fhewn by the other European ufurpers, and which neither the English nor Spaniards will conteft; but of this cold region
region they have enough already, and their refolution was to get a better country. This was not to be had but by fettling to the weft of our plantations, on ground which has been hitherto fuppofed to belong to us.
Hither, therefore, they refolved to remove, and to fix, at their own difcretion, the western border of our colonies, which was heretofore confidered as unlimited. Thus by forming a line of forts, in fome measure parallel to the coaft, they inclofe us between their garrifons and the fea, and not only hinder our extension weftward, but, whenever they have a fufficient navy in the fea, can harass us on each fide, as they can invade us at pleasure from one or other of their forts.
This defign was not perhaps difcovered as foon as it was formed, and was certainly not oppofed fo foon as it was discovered; we foolishly hoped, that their incroachments would ftop, that they would be prevailed on by treaty and remonftrance, to give up what they had taken, or to put limits to themselves. We fuffered them to establish one fettlement after another, to pafs boundary after boundary, and add fort to fort, till at laft they grew ftrong enough to avow their defigns, and defy us to obftruct them.
By thefe 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 difhonourably defeated; our fleets have yet done nothing more than taken a few merchantfhips, and have diftreffed some private families, but have very little weakened the power of France. The detention of their feamen makes it indeed less eafy for