French Memoir on the English Aggression October 1750


In 1744, a war broke out in Europe and in America between the Great Powers. In 1748, a peace was concluded, albeit an uneasy one. During the 1750s, the English became increasingly suspicious of the French, particularly of their carefully directed effort to establish forts and settlements from the Great Lakes southward to the headwaters of the Ohio, near present-day Pittsburgh, and down the Ohio River to the Mississippi River in order to link the anchor of Canada with that of Louisiana.

The French view was quite different: The English were the aggressors and the French were merely acting to protect their rights and territory. In this memoir, a translation of a document from the Paris archives whose authorship is uncertain, the French made their case.

The restoration of peace has in no wise diverted the English from their constant design to get possession of all the commerce of America. It is only necessary to consider their actual conduct to be convinced of this truth.

No doubt Spain has good proof on its side. France's is but too certain, both from the publicly professed plans of the English and from the difficulties their commissaries are daily making in the settlement of the disputes of the two nations in America.

England, not content with having already encroached on the lands of France on the side of Hudson Bay, and with pushing its settlements in Acadia on the mainland of New France at the Bay of Fundy, despite the boundaries assigned that country by the Treaty of Utrecht, now plans the invasion of Florida and Louisiana.

It is true the English have already encroached on those provinces, but they have not hitherto pushed their claims to the extravagant extent revealed by the map just published at London, on which, under pretence of correcting one of our recent geographers, they extend their boundaries into Spanish Florida in such fashion as to seat themselves on waters flowing into the Gulf of Mexico.

As to Louisiana, they claim to extend their boundaries over all the lands of the Indians friendly to France as far as the Alabamas; they partially recompense Spain for what they took from Florida at the expense of Louisiana. Although this map is not made by express order of the government, it is well known to be by authority.

However there is no doubt that the English have no justification for such enterprises which have long been no secret. They wish to be in a position to invade Florida, and by that conquest, along with their possession of the Isle of Providence in the Bahamas, to make themselves masters of the outlet of the Bahama Channel, and as a result of the treasure of Europe.

To carry out this plan more easily they seek to put it out of the power of the French of Louisiana to give aid to the Spanish as formerly, and as they will never fail to do in all attempts of the English to work their hurt. In this they can best succeed by seeking to cut the communication of the French of Louisiana with New France and Florida; but is not the common danger resulting to France and Spain a warning to the two powers to concert measures as soon as possible that will insure the failure of this pernicious design? The king on his side is ready to enter into all the measures His Catholic Majesty may think most proper to protect himself from the ambitious projects of a nation with no other aim than to subjugate all the others by seizing on their colonies and their commerce, and which terms that the "balance of Europe."