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Observations On The State Of Affairs In 1756
by [?]

The time is now come, in which every Englishman 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 ministers, or those whom vanity or interest make the followers of ministers, concerning the necessity of confidence in our governours, and the presumption of prying, with profane eyes, into the recesses of policy, it is evident, that this reverence can be claimed only by counsels yet unexecuted, and projects suspended in deliberation. But when a design has ended in miscarriage or success, when every eye, and every ear, is witness to general discontent, or general satisfaction, it is then a proper time to disentangle confusion, and illustrate obscurity; to show by what causes every event was produced, and in what effects it is likely to terminate; to lay down, with distinct particularity, what rumour always huddles in general exclamations, or perplexes by undigested narratives; to show whence happiness or calamity is derived, and whence it may be expected; and honestly to lay before the people, what inquiry can gather of the past, and conjecture can estimate of the future.

The general subject of the present war is sufficiently known. It is allowed, on both sides, that hostilities 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 show any other right than that of power, and which neither can occupy but by usurpation, and the dispossession of the natural lords and original inhabitants. Such is the contest, that no honest man can heartily wish success to either party.

It may, indeed, be alleged, 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 shown not to be vain; or by promises, of which no performance was ever intended, what are they but new modes of usurpation, but new instances of crueltv and treachery?

And, indeed, what but false hope, or resistless terrour, can prevail upon a weaker nation to invite a stronger into their country, to give their lands to strangers, whom no affinity of manners, or similitude of opinion, can be said to recommend, to permit them to build towns, from which the natives are excluded, to raise fortresses, by which they are intimidated, to settle themselves with such strength, that they cannot afterwards be expelled, but are, for ever, to remain the masters of the original inhabitants, the dictators of their conduct, and the arbiters of their fate?

When we see men acting thus against the precepts of reason, and the instincts of nature, we cannot hesitate to determine, that, by some means or other, they were debarred from choice; that they were lured or frighted into compliance; that they either granted only what they found impossible to keep, or expected advantages upon the faith of their new inmates, which there was no purpose to confer upon them. It cannot be said, that the Indians originally invited us to their coasts; we went, uncalled and unexpected, to nations who had no imagination that the earth contained any inhabitants, so distant and so different from themselves. We astonished them with our ships, with our arms, and with our general superiority. They yielded to us, as to beings of another and higher race, sent among them from some unknown regions, with power which naked Indians could not resist and, which they were, therefore, by every act of humility, to propitiate, that they, who could so easily destroy, might be induced to spare.