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smiths are wanted for one employed before, why may
Your Excellency's most obedient
the Parliament to which they had sent representatives. And this is all that can be strictly inferred from the above letter to Governor Shirley. Although from the fact, that in the Albany Convention it was decided that a union of the colonies could not be formed without an act of Parliament, it is perhaps probable that Franklin was then of the same sentiment, and afterwards upon further inquiry changed his opinion.
In reply to the first part of Governor Hutchinson's comment, it needs only be said, that the colonies revolted in consequence of what they deemed the legislative and practical usurpation and oppression of the government in England, and not because they considered themselves a separate part of the empire; nor did the merits of the controversy rest upon this point. - EDITOR.
FOR SETTLING TWO WESTERN COLONIES IN NORTH AMERICA, WITH REASONS FOR THE PLAN.
Dr. Franklin was early possessed of the belief, that great advantage would redound to the English Colonies on the sea-board by settlements beyond the Alleganies under governments distinctly organized. Such settlements would not only rapidly increase in population, thereby strengthening the power of the whole, but would serve as a barrier to the other colonies against the Indians and French, who, in time of war, made descents upon the frontiers, kept the people in alarm, and caused great expense in raising troops and supporting an army to repel their invasions. He pursued this favorite object for many years; and after he went to England a company was formed, under his auspices, who petitioned for a grant to settle a colony west of the Allegany mountains. Many obstacles were encountered, but the application was at last successful. The scheme was prevented from being carried into effect by the troubles immediately preceding the revolution.
The following paper was probably written shortly after the Albany Convention, in 1754, at the request of Governor Pownall, who had a project for settling what he called "barrier colonies." He presented a memorial to the Duke of Cumberland on this subject in the year 1756, in which he says;
"If the English would advance one step further, or cover themselves where they are, it must be at once, by one large step over the mountains, with a numerous and military colony. Where such should be settled, I do not take upon me to say; at present I shall only point out the measure and the nature of it, by inserting two schemes, one of Dr. Franklin's, the other of your memorialist; and if I might indulge myself with scheming, I should imagine that two such were sufficient, and only requisite and proper; one at the back of Virginia, filling up the vacant space between the Five Nations and southern confederacy, and connect
ing into one system our barrier; the other somewhere in the Cohass on Connecticut river, or wherever best adapted to cover the New England colonies. These, with the little settlements mentioned above in the Indian countries, complete my idea of this branch."-- Administration of the Colonies, 4th ed., Append. p. 48. When this memorial, with Franklin's plan, was presented, the whole country was too much involved in the war with the French and Indians, to allow any scheme of this sort to be matured; the peace followed, when the occasion for them was less pressing; and the revolution opened the way to other methods of attaining the EDITOR. same object.
THE great country back of the Appalachian Mountains, on both sides of the Ohio, and between that river and the Lakes is now well known, both to the English and French, to be one of the finest in North America, for the extreme richness and fertility of the land; the healthy temperature of the air, and mildness of the climate; the plenty of hunting, fishing, and fowling; the facility of trade with the Indians; and the vast convenience of inland navigation or watercarriage by the Lakes and great rivers, many hundreds of leagues around.
From these natural advantages it must undoubtedly (perhaps in less than another century) become a populous and powerful dominion;* and a great accession of power either to England or France.
The French are now making open encroachments on these territories, in defiance of our known rights; and, if we longer delay to settle that country, and suffer them to possess it, these inconveniences and mischiefs will probably follow;
1. Our people, being confined to the country be
* This prediction has been verified in a much less time than even the author anticipated. — EDITor.
tween the sea and the mountains, cannot much more increase in number; people increasing in proportion to their room and means of subsistence. (See Observations on the Increase of Mankind, &c., Vol. II. p. 311.)
2. The French will increase much more, by that acquired room and plenty of subsistence, and become a great people behind us.
3. Many of our debtors and loose English people, our German servants, and slaves, will probably desert to them, and increase their numbers and strength, to the lessening and weakening of ours.
4. They will cut us off from all commerce and alliance with the western Indians, to the great prejudice of Britain, by preventing the sale and consumption of its manufactures.
5. They will both in time of peace and war (as they have always done against New England) set the Indians on to harass our frontiers, kill and scalp our people, and drive in the advanced settlers; and so, in preventing our obtaining more subsistence by cultivating of new lands, they discourage our marriages, and keep our people from increasing; thus (if the expression may be allowed) killing thousands of our children before they are born.
If two strong colonies of English were settled between the Ohio and Lake Erie, in the places hereafter to be mentioned, these advantages might be expected;
1. They would be a great security to the frontiers of our other colonies, by preventing the incursions of the French and French Indians of Canada, on the back parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas; and the frontiers of such new colonies would be much more easily defended, than those of
the colonies last mentioned now can be, as will appear hereafter.
2. The dreaded junction of the French settlements in Canada with those of Louisiana would be prevented.
3. In case of a war, it would be easy, from those new colonies, to annoy Louisiana, by going down the Ohio and Mississippi; and the southern part of Canada, by sailing over the Lakes, and thereby confine the French within narrow limits.
4. We could secure the friendship and trade of the Miamis or Twigtwees (a numerous people consisting of many tribes, inhabiting the country between the west end of Lake Erie, and the south end of Lake Huron, and the Ohio), who are at present dissatisfied with the French, and fond of the English, and would gladly encourage and protect an infant English settlement in or near their country, as some of their chiefs have declared to the writer of this memoir. Further, by means of the Lakes, the Ohio, and the Mississippi, our trade might be extended through a vast country, among many numerous and distant nations, greatly to the benefit of Britain.
5. The settlement of all the intermediate lands, between the present frontiers of our colonies on one side, and the Lakes and Mississippi on the other, would be facilitated and speedily executed, to the great increase of Englishmen, English trade, and English power.
The grants to most of the colonies are of long, narrow slips of land, extending west from the Atlantic to the South Sea. They are much too long for their breadth; the extremes at too great a distance; and therefore unfit to be continued under their present dimensions.
Several of the old colonies may conveniently be