The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 3 [of 3]

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 69

their
disputes about boundaries, as to proceed to open violence and
bloodshed.

[2. _Erecting forts in the back settlements, almost in no instance
a sufficient security against the Indians and the French; but the
possession of Canada implies every security, and ought to be had,
while in our power._]

But the remarker thinks _we shall be_ sufficiently _secure in
America, if we "raise English forts at such passes as may at once
make us respectable to the French and to the Indian nations[28]."_
The security desirable in America may be considered as of three
kinds. 1. A security of possession, that the French shall not drive
us out of the country. 2. A security of our planters from the inroads
of savages, and the murders committed by them. 3. A security that
the British nation shall not be obliged, on every new war, to repeat
the immense expence occasioned by this, to defend its possessions in
America. Forts, in the most important passes, may, I acknowledge,
be of use to obtain the _first_ kind of security: but as those
situations are far advanced beyond the inhabitants, the expence of
maintaining and supplying the garrisons will be very great even in
time of full peace, and immense on every interruption of it; as it is
easy for skulking-parties of the enemy, in such long roads through
the woods, to intercept and cut off our convoys, unless guarded
continually by great bodies of men.--The _second_ kind of security
will not be obtained by such forts, unless they were connected by
a wall like that of China, from one end of our settlements to the
other. If the Indians, when at war, marched like the Europeans,
with great armies, heavy cannon, baggage, and carriages; the passes
through which alone such armies could penetrate our country, or
receive their supplies, being secured, all might be sufficiently
secure; but the case is widely different. They go to war, as they
call it, in small parties; from fifty men down to five. Their hunting
life has made them acquainted with the whole country, and scarce any
part of it is impracticable to such a party. They can travel through
the woods even by night, and know how to conceal their tracks. They
pass easily between your forts undiscovered; and privately approach
the settlements of your frontier inhabitants. They need no convoys
of provisions to follow them; for whether they are shifting from
place to place in the woods, or lying in wait for an opportunity to
strike a blow, every thicket and every stream furnishes so small
a

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