« PreviousContinue »
lence since the Remarks appeared bas made us despair of seeing the subject farther discussed by his masterly hand. The ingenious and candid remarker, too, who must have been missed himself before he employed his skill and address to mislead others, will certainly, since be declares he aims at no seduction*, be disposed to excuse even the weakest effort to prevent it.
And surely, if the general opinions that possess the minds of the people may possibly be of consequence in public affairs, it must be fit to set those opinions right. If there is danger, as the remarker supposes, that “extravagant expectations” may embarrass, "a virtuous and able ministry,” and “render the negociation for peace a work of infinite difficultyt;" there is no less danger that expectations too low, through want of proper information, may bave a contrary effect, may make even a virtuous and able ministry less anxious, and less attentive to the obtaining points, in which the honour and interest of the nation are essentially concerned ; and the people less hearty in supporting such a ministry and its measures,
The people of this nation are indeed respectable, not for their numbers only, but for their understanding and their public spirit; they manifest the first, by their universal approbation of the late prudent and vigorous measures, and the confidence they so justly repose in a wise and good prince, and an honest and able administration; the latter they have demonstrated by the immense supplies granted in parliament unanimously, and paid through the whole kingdom with carefulness. And since to this spirit and these supplies our “victories and successes*" have in great measure been owing: is it quite right, is it generous to say, with the remarker, that the people “ had no share in acquiring them ?" The mere mob he cannot mean, even where he speaks of the madness of the people; for the madness of the mob must be too feeble and impotent, armed as the government in this country at present is, to "overrulet," even in the slightest instances, the virtue “and moderation" of a firm and steady ministry.
* Remarks, p, 6,
+ Ibid. p. 7.
ries * Remarks, p. 7.
While the war continues, its final event is quite uncertain. The victorious of this year may be the vanquished of the next. It may therefore be too early to say, what advantages we ought absolutely to insist on, and make the sine quibus non of a peace. If the necessity of our affairs should oblige us to 'accept of terms less advantageous than our present successes promise us; an intelligent people, as ours is, must see that necessity, and will acquiesce. But as a peace, when it is made, may be made hastily: and as the unhappy continuance of the war affords us time to consider, among several advantages gained or to be gained, which of them may be most for our interest to retain, if some and not all may possibly be retained; I do not blame the public disquisition of these points, as premature or useless. Light often arises from a collision of opinions, as fire from flint and steel; and if we can obtain the benefit of the light, without danger from the heut sometimes produced by controversy, why should we discourage it?
Supposing then, 'that heaven may still continue to bless his majesty's arms, and that the event of this just
war may put it in our power to retain some of our conquests at the making of a peace; let us consider, [1. The security of a dominion, a justifiable and prudent
ground upon which to demand cessions from an enemy.]
Whether we are to confine ourselves to those possessions only that were “ the objects for which we began the war*.” This the remarker seems to think right, when the question relates to “ Canada, properly so called; it having never been mentioned as one of those objects, in any of our memorials or declarations, or in any na. tional or public act whatsoever.” But the gentleman himself will probably agree, that if the cession of Canada would be a real advantage to us; we may demand it under his second head, as an “indemnification for the charges incurred” in recovering our just rights; otherwise, according to his own principles, the demand of Guadaloupe can have no foundation. That“our claims before the war were large enough for possession and for security toot,” though it seems a clear point with the ingenious remarker, is, I own, not so with me: rather of the contrary opinion, and shall presently give my reasons.
But first let me observe, that we did not make those claims because they were large enough for security, but because we could rightfully claim no more. Advantages gained in the course of this war may increase the extent of our rights. Our claims before the war contained some security ; but that is no reason why we should neglect acquiring more, when the demand of more is become reasonable. It may be reasonable in
• Remarks, p. 19,
the case of America, to ask for the security recommended by the author of the Letter*, though it would be preposterous to do it in many other cases. His proposed demand is founded on the little value of Canada to the French ; the right we have to ask, and the power we may have to insist on an indemnification for our expences; the difficulty the French themselves will be under of restraining their restless subjects in America froin encroaching on our limits and disturbing our trade ; and the difficulty on our parts of preventing encroachments, that may possibly exist many years without coming to our knowledge.
But the remarker“ does not see why the arguments, employed concerning a security for a peaceable behaviour in Canada, would not be equally cogent for calling for the same security in Europet.” On a little fara ther reflection, he must I think be sensible, that the circumstances of the two cases are widely different.-Here we are separated by the best and clearest of boundaries, the ocean, and we have people in or near every part of our territory. Any attempt to encroach upon us, by building a fort even in the obscurest corner of these islands, must therefore be known and prevented immediately. The aggressors also must be known, and the nation they belong to would be accountable for their aggression. In America it is quite otherwise. A vast wilderness, thinly or scarce at all peopled, conceals with ease the march of troops and workmen. Important passes may be seized within our limits, and forts built in a month, at a small expence, that may cost us
* Page 30, of the Letter, and p. 21, of the Remarks, + Remarks, p. 28.
an age, and a million, to remove. Dear experience has taught this. But what is still worse, the wide extended forests between our settlements and theirs, are inbabited by barbarous tribes of savages, that delight in war, and take pride in murder; subjects properly neither of the French nor English, but strongly attached to the former by the art and indefatigable industry of priests, similarity of superstitions, and frequent family alliances. These are easily, and have been continually, instigated
upon and massacre our planters, even in times of full peace between the two crowns; to the certain di. minution of our people and the contraction of our settlements*. And though it is known they are supplied
A very intelligent writer of that country, Dr. Clark, in his Observations on the late and present Conduct of the French, &c. printed at Boston
says. “ The Indians in the French interest are, upon all proper opportuni. ties, instigated by their priests (who have generally the chief management of their public councils) to acts of hostility against the English, even in time of profound peace between t!:e two crowns. Of this there are many undeniable instances: the war between the Indians and the colonies of the Alassachusett's Bay and New Hampshire, in 1723, by which those colenies suffered so much damage, was begun by the instigation of the French : their supplies were from them; and there are now original letters of several Jesuits to be produced, whereby it evidently appears, that they were continually animating the Indians, when almost tired with the war to a farther prosecution of it. The French not only excited the Indians, and supported them, but joined their own forces with them in all the late hostilities that have been committed within his majesty's province of Nova Scotia. And from an intercepted letter this year from the Jesuits at Pe. nobscot, and from other information, it is certain, that they have been using their utnost endeavours to excite the Indians to new acts of hostility against his majesty's colony of the Massachusett's Bay; and some have been committed. The French not only excite the Indians to acts of hostility, but reward them for it, by buying the English prisoners of them ; for the