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Queries on a Pennsylvania Militia

B. Franklin,

Thee art desired to insert the following Queries in the Gazette, for the Consideration of People.

Whether it is not a great Disadvantage to the French, and a great Discouragement to their Colonies on this Continent, that from the Mouth of Missisipi to St. Lawrence they have no Ports to the Sea, for the Benefit of Trade; but see them all in the Hands of the English, for 1500 Miles; tho’ they possess a fine Country back of the same Extent?

Whether the Possession of the Governments of N. Y. J. and P. would not be very convenient for them, as well on Account of the Plenty of Provisions raised here, as for our Rivers which run far back towards their present Settlements?

Whether it is not possible for our Pilots to be compell’d to bring armed Vessels up this River?

Whether Vessels do not oftentimes turn the Point in Sight of this Town, before we hear of their being in the River?

Whether if this Town could be surpriz’d, there is not Plate, Clocks, Watches and other rich Goods in it, sufficient to make it worth their While that attempt?

Whether, considering our present Circumstances, any great Number of Men would be necessary for such an Enterprize, or whether a moderate Number would run any great Risque in it?

Whether they who are against fortifying their Country against an Enemy, ought not, by the same Principle to be against shutting and locking their Doors a Nights?

Whether it be not as just to shoot an Enemy who comes to destroy my Country, and deprive the People of their Substance, Lives and Liberties, as to sit (being either Judge or Juryman) and condemn a Man to Death for breaking open a House, or taking a Purse?

Whether there was not formerly a People, who possessed a large and good Land, where there was plenty of every Thing; and who lived after the Manner of the Zidonians, careless, quiet, and secure? Whether this was not an Invitation to an Enemy? And what was the Consequence? See Judges 18.

Whether the French Soldiers are a good, friendly, harmless Sort of People; or whether they are not composed of the Scum, the most profligate, wicked, and abandoned of the Nation?

Whether, if they were in Possession of these Governments, and quarter’d upon the Inhabitants, they would out of Honesty and Scruple of Conscience, forbear to take any Thing which was not their own? And out of Modesty and Bashfulness, forbear to ravish any of our Wives and Daughters? Or whether they would not do as they did, when they overrun Holland in 1675?

Whether we are sure that if they should attempt to abuse our Women, our Men could be quiet and peaceable Witnesses of it; and that Attempts to rescue and prevent, would not occasion frequent and daily Murders here, as well as in Holland aforesaid?

Whether they would not take as much Pride in deflouring Quaker Girls, as the English did in the Nuns of the Town they took in Spain?

Whether from the Purity of our Lives and the Sanctity of our Manners, we have any more Reason to expect the immediate Protection of Heaven than the rest of our Neighbours?

Whether the ancient Story of the Man, who sat down and prayed his Gods to lift his Cart out of the Mire , hath not a very good Moral?

Whether 500 disciplined Men well armed, are not able to beat an unarm’d, unheaded, undisciplined, and affrighted Mob of 5000?

Whether, if it were known that we fortifyed and exercised ourselves, it would not contribute towards discouraging an Enemy from attacking us?

The Pennsylvania Gazette, March 6, 1733/4