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tion can never be bridled, and rid by an arbitrary prince. Neither can any chains put on by dispotic and arbitrary measures hold these legions. ... to conclude this plea, I find not amongst all the catalogues of heroes or worthy things in the English empire, peers to these undertakers; therefore we must needs range them with the arbitrary princes of the earth, (such as the great Czar or Ottoman monarch) who have no other rule to govern by, but their own will. ...
John Wise, The Churches Quarrel Espoused (Boston, 1772), No. ii, 147-148.
6. Warning Against the French in
the West (1718)
An excellent governor of Virginia and one of the early explorers of the Shenandoah Valley.
... HAVING of a long time endeavour'd to informe myself of ye scituation of the French to the Westward of Us, and the Advantages they Reap by an uninterrupted Communication along ye Lake, I shall here take the Liberty of communicating my thoughts to Yo'r Lord'ps, both of the dangers to w'ch his Majsty's Plantations may be exposed by this new Acquisition of our Neigh
bours, and how the same may be best prevented. I have often regretted that after so many Years as these Countrys have been Seated, no Attempts have been made to discover the Sources of Our Rivers, nor to Establishing Correspondence w'th those Nations of Indians to ye Westw'd of Us, even after the certain Knowledge of the Progress made by French in Surrounding us with their Settlements.
By this Communication and the forts they have already built, the Brittish Plantations are in a manner Surrounded by their Commerce w'th the numerous Nations of Indians seated on both sides of the Lakes; they may not only Engross the whole Skin Trade, but may, when they please, Send out such Bodys of Indians on the back of these Plantations as may greatly distress his Maj’ty's Subjects here, And should they multiply their Settlem'ts along these Lakes, so as to joyn their Dominions of Canada to their new Colony of Louisiana, they might even possess themselves of any of these Plantations they pleased. Nature, 'tis true, has formed a Barrier for us by that long Chain of Mountains w'ch run from the back of South Carolina as far as New York, and w'ch are only passable in some few places, but even that Natural Defence may prove rather destructive to us, if they are not possessed by us before they are known to them. To prevent the dangers .w'ch Threaten his Maj’ty's Dominions here from the growing power of these Neighbors, nothing seems to me of more consequence than that now while the Nations are at peace, and while the French are yet uncapable of possessing all that vast Tract w'ch lies on the back of these Plantations, we should attempt to make some Settlements on ye Lakes, and at the same time possess our selves of those passes of the great Mountains, w'ch are necessary to preserve a Communication w'th such Settlements.
As the Lake Erie lyes almost in the Center of the French Communication, and, as I observed before, not above 5 days' March from the late discovered passage of Our great Mountains, That seems the most proper for forming a Settlement on, by w'ch we shall not only share with the French in the Commerce and friendship of those Indians inhabiting the banks of the Lakes, but may be able to cutt off or disturb the communication between Canada and Louisiana, if a War should happen to break out. If such a Settlement were once made, I can't see how the French could dispute our Right of Possession, the Law of Nations giving a Title to the first Occupant, and should they think fitt to dispossess us by force, We are nearer to Support than they to attack.
Passes of the Great Mountains, w'ch ly between Us and the Lakes, Either by themselves
or their Indians, fall upon and over-run w'ch of these Provinces they think fit, And seeing, by their late Siezure of Pensacola from the Spaniards, their design seems to be to extend their Dominions Eastward from Mississippi towards South Carolina, It is certainly the British Interest to put a stop to their Advancing any further that way, w'ch, in my Opinion, w'll be best Effected by possessing our selves w'th some places on the Coast of Florida, and forming a Settlement as near as can be to cramp their's, w'ch leads me to consider the other part Yo'r Lord'ps desire to be informed in, vizt: The Importance of taking St. Augustine from the Spaniards. That your Lord'ps may have a Clearer Idea of the places I have now been describing, I herewith transmit a Draught of the River Mississippi and the Rivers Communicating with it and also of the Sea Coasts along the Bay of Mexico and Gulph of Florida. . . . In it yo'r Lord'ps w'll see the many Navigable Rivers that branch out from the Mississippi towards the English Plantations, and the Situation of the several Indian Nations w'th whom both we and the French Trade. Yo'r Lord'ps w'll thereby observe that most of those Nations are more contiguous to the French Settlements than the English, and have been hitherto kept in our Interest by being more plentifully supplyed with Goods from the English than the French could afford them. I am also here to observe that the French have of late begun a traffique with the Coosta Indians, living upon a River of that name not far from the Cherokees, and it is to be feared they will soon gett footing too among the latter, the people of So. Carolina having already abandoned y't Trade.
The Official Letters of Alexander Spotswood (Virginia Historical Society, Collections, New Series, II. Richmond, 1882), II. 295-331 passim.
7. Let the Colonies Keep Their
By AGENT JEREMIAH DUMMER
For a time a minister. Later a public man and agent of Massachusetts in England.
To increase the nation's commerce and enlarge her dominions, must be allowed a work of no little merit, if we consider the hardships to which the adventurers were exposed; or the expence in making their settlements; or lastly, the great advantages thence accruing to the crown and nation. It would be an endless task to recount all the disappointments, and disasters that befel the first planters in these enterprizes. I shall therefore only say in general, that after