War had broken out in the Caribbean in 1739 between England and Spain which spread to Florida and Georgia. The conflict became known as the War of Jenkins’ Ear and raised an alert throughout the colonies. Thus, on 26 Feb 1740, Nathaniel Niles was appointed by the Assembly to build a watch house at Point Judith, RI. The towns were to have a watch kept in these houses at their own charge, and to be under regulations of the Council of War. The war would not greatly affect Rhode Island, but conflict in the years past was great enough to raise concerns.
However, the conflict escalated in Europe with the War of Austrian Succession in 1740 between Austria and their opponents, France and Prussia. The British became involved three years later and then declared war upon France in 1744. The operation in North America was called King George’s War (1744—1748), the third of four French and Indan Wars. Most of the fighting took place in New York and Nova Scotia and thus would remain west of Rhode Island, but the toll upon the northern colonies in men and in money was severe. About 8% of Massachusetts’ adult male population was lost.
The most notable battle was the siege of Fort Louisburg which lasted six weeks and ended in a British victory in Nov 1745. Nathaniel’s brother, Rev.Samuel Niles, would pen "God’s wonder-working Providence for New England in the reduction of Louisburg," a celebration in verse for the French defeat. Several retaliatory attacks took place, but the war ended in 1748 and Louisburg was returned to the French. Peace was short-lived and the pressure would once again erupt in 1754 in the French and Indian War (1754—1763).