Transcript for: A General View of the Conduct of the French in America


From the Gentleman’s Magazine, for January.

A General View of the Conduct of the French in America, of our Settlements there.

At the Treaty of Utrecht it was agreed, that the Islands of Tobago, St. Lucia, Domingo, and St. Vincent, should remain neuter, and that neither England nor France should possess or plant them: But that Peace was scarce concluded when they gradually began to plant those very Island from Martineco and Guadeloupe, which we suffered them quietly to do., In 1744 they declared War against England, and then had a Right to keep and fortify those Islands, which they did; but in 1748 it was agreed, that the Treaty of Utrecht should be the Basis of that of Aix-la-Chapelle, and therefore those Islands were still to be neutral. England on her Part, evacuated Cape Breton in Conformity to the Treaty, and the same was expected on the Part of France; but to this Day those Islands remain in their Possession; where they are daily increasing in Number of People. The French Conduct therefore in regard to those Islands is unjust, and a direct Breach of the two Treaties; and if they are suffered to remain in their Hands, it will inevitably be attended with dangerous Consequences, to Antigua, Montserrat, Nevis, and St. Christopher’s, which are already much inferior in Numbers to those of Martineco, Guardeloupe, and Grandterre: Therefore in a future War, we may probably be divested of those four of our Islands., As to Nova-Scotia; it was agreed, that Commissioners be appointed by both Parties, and that they should meet at Paris, and settle the Line which should divide our Part of Nova-Scotia from that Country which they claim; and which is bounded by the River St. Laurence. The Court of England, in Consequence of this Agreement, sent Messieurs Mildmay and Shirley to Paris: Conferences were frequently held between them and the French Commissioners, and our Commissioners finding that nothing was intended to be done after having been amused about two Years, grew heartily tired of Paris; particularly Mr. Shirley, who got Leave to return to London, and from thence to his Government of New England., But what engrosses the Attention at present, is their Invasion of Virginia, in a profound Peace; and well it may, since that our Colonies on that Continent are of the utmost Importance., Nova Scotia is a Country which has laid long neglected, but is capable of being made very considerable: Great Part of its Soil is very good, and wants only People to cultivate it, and produce every Kind of Corn which grows in England. The Country abounds in many Sorts of Timber, as Oak, Beech, Birch, Walnut, Fir &c. so that they can build what Number of Ships they please; but the principal Thing that will make this Colony very considerable, is the Cod Fishery: They are within a Day or two’s sail of the Banks of Newfoundland; besides many other Banks still nearer to them. This Country lies in about 46 Degrees North, and is very cold; therefore great Quantities of the Woolen Manufactures in this Kingdom are demanded there: For which the Merchants in London and other Places order them to send Cod-Fish for their Account, to Cailles, Lisbon, Bilboa, &c. the nett Proceeds of which comes to England. So that by this Trade you plant a Colony, increase your Number of Seamen, put off your Manufactures, and enrich yourselves. , The next Colony is New Hampshire and Main: This is also well known for its Fishery: But is most famous for the excellent Masts and Yards that it furnishes to the Royal Navy of England, which you could not get in such Abundance, nor on such Conditions, in any Country of the World; for they do not take a Guinea from you: But for all their Fish, Masts, Etc., you pay them in Goods. , The Province of Massachusetts, or New England, comes next, of which Boston is the Capital. It lies in 42 Degrees, has a large Sea Coast, and many very good Harbours: Its Climate is very good, and the Air much clearer than in England; their Soil is indifferent, producing Rye, Oats, Barley, Indian Corn, but no Wheat: They have excellent Pasture Land, and of Course good Provisions. A principal Article of their Trade is Cod Fish, which they send to Spain, Portugal, Italy, &c. and the Whale Fishery is more considerable here than in any of the other Colonies: Their Ship-Building has been, and is more than in all the other Colonies: They carry on a great Trade to all the English Islands, Jamaica, Barbados, &c. as well as to the Dutch, French, and Danish Islands, in Fish, Horses, Staves, Heading Boards, and other Lumber., This Country has been settled about 130 Years, and is in many Parts of it as populous as England: There are in it many Hundreds of fine Towns, and Boston is as large and much better built than Bristol, or indeed than any other City in England, London excepted. From the Populousness of this Country, it may easily be judged what Quantities of Manufactures are required there, all which are paid for in Fish, via Spain and Portugal, in building us Ships, in Oil, Pitch, Tar, and in Gold and Silver, which they draw from the Island just mentioned, for Horse, &c., This Colony gave Peace to Europe; for it is well remembered what a Figure the Allies made in Flanders the late War; France carried every Thing before her, and nothing could check her Designs, till the Governor and Council of Boston resolved the Reduction of Cape Breton [northern Nova Scotia], laid an Embargo, beat up for Volunteers, inlisted 4000 Men, bought Arms, Provisions, hired Transports, and sailed in 40 Days after the Resolution first taken. They took the Place, which greatly alarmed the French King, who was then in Flanders. A Congress was held about two Years after at Aix la Chapelle; What had we to offer France in Lieu of all her Conquests? Why, nothing but Cape Breton; and for her Cape Breton she gave up all Flanders. , We come next to Rhode-Island, which is about the Size of the Isle of Wight, and is cut off from the Continent by an Arm of the Sea, about Half a Mile over; on this Continent they have several Counties, of which Warwick and Providence are two, and Narraganset a third. Newport is the Capital, and has an excellent Harbour; the Town is much bigger than our City of Worcester, and contains three Times the Number of Inhabitants., The principal Articles of their Trade are Horses, Lumber, and Cheese; all the Goods they consume they fetch from hence and from Holland; they trade with all the English, Dutch, French, and Danish Islands, as well as to the Havannah, whence they bring a great deal of Silver, every Dollar of which finds its Way to London to pay for our Manufactures; they also build very fine Ships, with which they do good Service in Time of War. , Travelling Westward we next come to Connecticut, which is a Colony that few People in England have heard of, and yet no Part of England has so many fine Market Towns, in many of which are from 3 to 500 Houses; their Sea Coast extends about 150 Miles, through all which you have as good a Road as any in England, and so populous that you are never out of the Sight of Houses; at every Distance of ten Miles a large Market Town, such as Stonington, New London, Saybreak, Killingsworth, Gailford, Brentford, Newhaven, Milford, Stratford, Fairfield, Norfolk, Stamford, and others, most of which have good Harbours, and trade to the neighbouring Colonies, and the West India Islands. They have several good Rivers, but the principal is that of Saybrook, which admits of Ships of Burthen about 50 Miles up; its Source is above 50 more: On this River stands Harford, Middletown, Wetherfield, and many other Towns, and neither of these contain less than 500 Houses, besides which there is in this Colony several Hundreds more., The Soil of this Country is better than that of Boston, and is productive of every Kind of European Corn, they have a great Plenty of black Cattle, Sheep, Hogs, and Horses; and abound in every Necessary of Life. They have not any City or large capital Town in their Colony, so that their Trade is divided: That Part of the Country which lies convenient to Boston, fetches Woollen Manufactures from thence; those which lie near New-York, buy their Goods there, but some of them trade to London and Bristol; the Consumption of our Manufactures in this Country is very great, and the Product of all the Provisions, Horses, and Lumber, that they export to other Countries, comes to London for Goods. , The next Colony is New-York, the Settlement of which began about 130 Years ago. It is divided into ten Counties, three of which are on Long Island, which is 150 Miles long, and about 14 broad. There is not any Kind of Corn, Tree, Shrub, or Vegetable, produced in England, which is not found in greater Abundance in this Island. The black Cattle are innumerable; and for Horses, no Country can compare to it. There are many large Market Towns on this Island, and ever Part of it is very populous. They have three very large Regiments of well disciplined Militia; one of Horse Blue’s. The North Side of the Island has many very fine Harbours. All their Trade is at New York, which contains about 5000 Houses, all of Brick and Stone; which in Shape excel the same Number in any Part of London, and their Townhouse is very little inferior to Guild Hall. Their Streets are better paved than those of London. Most of their Trade is by Water Carriage. They have many fine Wharfs, so that Ships of 400 Tons may come up to them, and be always afloat. Hudson’s River, the Source of which is above Albany, and which is one of the largest Rivers in America, flows by their City, where it is above 3 Miles wide. On this River all the Corn and other Goods of the Counties of Albany, Ulster, Duchess, Orange, and Winchester, come down to New York: In this City are fix large Markets, and none in Europe are supplied with Provisions so good, so plentiful, and so cheap. It lies in 40 Degrees Latitude, being parallel with Naples, Greece, and Asia Minor; which are fine Counties as any in the World. Its Produce is Wheat, Rye, Barley, Oats, Indian Corn, Pease, and all Kinds of Pulse; excellent Pasturage, therefore black Cattle, Sheep, Horses, Hogs, are in great Abundance. Every Sort of Timber which we have in England, and man Sorts which we have not, as Fir, Sassafras, &c., They have for many Years carried on a considerable Trade to London and other Ports of this Kingdom, as well as to Spain, Portugal, all Italy, Africa, and all the West India Islands, and take several Hundred Pounds per Annum of our Manufactures; for which we are paid in Gold and Silver, which they receive from Jamaica, Coracoa, St. Eustatia, St. Augustine, and some from the Spanish Continent, or in Logwood, Nicarago, Brazalette, and many Thousands per Annum in Beaver, and other Furs, Ships, and several other Articles. , We go on to New-Jersey, most of which is a very level Country, and its Produce the same as that of New-York, and in great Abundance: They have several Rivers, but none of them deep. They have no Capital Town, so that their Trade is not collected. They have but very little foreign Trade; New-York is the principal Market for their Provisions; and supplies them with English Goods. This Colony was unfortunately granted to a certain Number of Proprietors; who often had Disputes about the Divisions of the Lands; so that Titles were precarious, which discouraged People from settling it; but within these 25 Years past, it is become very prosperous, and very populous. , Pennsylvania lies in about 39 Degrees Latitude. Its Product is the same in every particular as that of New-York, and full as abundant, This Co-is divided into several Counties, and is full of People; for in the latter End of Queen Anne’s Reign the Palatines first found their Way thither, and they encouraged their Friends throughout the German Empire to come over to them. There have gone only from the Port of Rotterdam, from 4 to 8,000 Palatines to Pennsylvania per Annum, from that Time to this; besides many English, Scots, and Irish, Philadelphia is the Capital; it contains 5000 Houses, and for its Bigness, is as fine a City as any on the Globe. Its Streets are all laid out in a Line, so that standing in the Center, you may see four different Ways from one End of the City to the other. The Houses are well built, their Town House elegant, and their Market-Place equal to any in Europe. The City stands between two navigable Rivers. The Inhabitants trade to most Parts of Europe, Africa, and America, and all the American Islands. They carry on a considerable Trade particularly to London and Bristol, taking off vast Quantities of Woollen and other Manufactures, for which they pay in the same Manner as New-York. – There has been lately an Academy erected in the Capital City, which has made surprizing Progress. , The next Colony is Maryland, of which Lord Baltimore is Proprietor: But whatever be the Cause, it is thinly inhabited. It is a very fruitful Country, and produces very good Wheat, and other European Corn, and a great deal of Indian Corn. The Inhabitants have Abundance of black Cattle, and Hogs; but their principal Article is Tobacco, of which they send a great deal to England. They have several good Rivers. Their chief Town is Annapolis, which is not large. Unhappily for this Colony, the Felons of England, are thought good enough to be incorporated with its Inhabitants. However, the People take all our Manufactures that they have Occasion for, which they pay in Tobacco, Deer-Skins, and Fur. , Virginia, is the most ancient of all the Colonies, and is of great Extent, having about 180 Miles Sea Coast; and its Extent back in the Country is unbounded. The Soil is extremely good, producing all Sorts of European, and Indian Corn, in great Abundance, but is most famous for Tobacco. As it lies in 37 Degrees it is not so cold as the other Northern Colonies, and therefore, as the Farmer is not obliged to procure so much Hay for his Cattle in Winter, they have great Stocks of black Cattle. They have very fine Rivers, all well supplied with Fish, and wild and tame Fowl in prodigious Quantities. The People live in great Plenty, but are not quite so Numerous as in some other Colonies, because they employ Negroes in the raising of their Tobacco. Williamsburg is the Capital of the Province, but is not large. Here their Courts are kept and their Governor resides: Hre they also have a College, at which the Youth receive their Education. In New-England are two Universities, Cambridge and Newhaven, which are very large and elegant Buildings, and have very considerable Libraries. No Country is better supplied with fine Rivers than Virginia; so that Ships from England go 150 Miles up them to load at the Planter’s Door with Tobacco, the Revenue of which Article to the Crown is prodigious; and vast Quantities of it are imported to Britain, and exported again to other Countries, which we pay in Cloths, Stuffs, Hardware, and every other Manufacture., North-Carolina lies in about 35 Degrees, is very hot in Summer, and not very cold in Winter. It was granted by King Charles II, to General Monk, Earl of Cravan and Berkley, and others, and has been but very indifferently managed. It is a very fruitful Country. Its Produce is Indian Corn, Rice, Pulse, Tobacco, Pitch, Tar, Deer-Skins, Fur, Wax, and Tallow. It contains many Sorts of Timber, the Principal is Pine of several Kinds. As the Inhabitants have but little Winter, they abound in Cattle and Hogs; of the latter the Woods are full; They fatten themselves on Chestnuts &c. so that they are no Expense to the Farmer. The greatest Disadvantage is, that they have a dangerous Sand Bar all along their Coast, and but one good Harbour for Ships of Burden, which is Cape Fear, their principal Town: Next to it is Edentown. They have many fine Rivers, navigable a great Way up the Country. The English Goods which they consume, they take chiefly from Boston, New-York, Philadelphia, and some directly from London, for which they pay in Tobacco, Pitch, Tar, Deer Skins, and Fur., South-Carolina lies in 32 Degrees, is very hot and has but very little Winter. Its Produce is the same with that of North-Carolina; but its principal Produce is Rice, with which it supplies almost all Europe; and if the Article of Indigo, which they have lately fallen on, will succeed, this will soon become one of the richest Colonies we have; and we shall save the vast Sums which we pay France annually for that Article., Charles-Town is the Capital of this Province, and is about as big as the City of Gloucester. The Inhabitants are very genteel and polite. All this Country has ever necessary, and most of the Conveniences of Life. Many fine Rivers, and good Harbours. All the Goods they consume, they have from England, and pay for them in Rice, Pitch, Tar, DeercSkins, and Fur., The last Colony is Georgia. This lies in 29 or 30 Degrees Latitude, and is extremely hot, a poor light Soil, and but thinly inhabited; it was settling as our Frontier next to the Spaniards; and we had great Hopes of making there great Quantities of Silk. Some has been made, and more might: Its Latitude is proper for it; they abound in Mulberry-Trees, and if they bring this Affair to Perfection, it will be a prodigious Advantage to England. , Such is the British Empire in North-America; which from Nova-Scotia to Georgia, is a Tract of 1600 Miles Sea-Coast; a Country productive of all the Necessaries and Conveniences of Life; and which already contains a greater Number of People than either the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily, Sardinia, Portugal, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, or Prussia, or the Republic of Holland. In short, there are but three Powers in Europe, which surpass them in Number, the German Empire, France, and perhaps England. America is become the Fountain of our Riches, for with America our greatest Trade is carried on, as appears by Lloyd’s List; and our Entry Bills at the Custom House of London only, shew the great Quantities of our Manufactures which they consume., This is the Country, which the French have many Years envied us, and which they have been long meditating to make themselves Masters of: They are at length come to a Resolution to attack us, in profound Peace, in one of the best of those Colonies, Virginia; and in that Part of it which lies on the River Ohio, to which Country they never pretended before. Every one knows, that the English were the first and only Europeans who settled Virginia. The Grants from the Crown to these Colonies are bounded West by the South Seas: Therefore as far as we can go back, purchasing our Peace with the Natives, is undoubtedly the Dominions of the Crown of England. The French however, if they find their Way to the Coast of Virginia, will easily over-run the Provinces, because each Province considers itself as independent of the Rest, and the Invaders from Canada all act under one Governor; to unite 13 Provinces which fill an Extent of 1600 Miles is not easy; Cato, on a like Occasion, said delenda est Carthago, and I am informed, that a noble Lord distinguished by his political Talents, speaking of the Affairs in Virginia, used the same Words, with a little Alteration, ”Canada must be Subdued.”