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as far south as Florida (if we comprehend the country around Hudson's Bay and the banks of Newfoundland) included a territory of seventeen hundred miles, in a direct line from 60th to 31st degree of northern latitude. It was washed on the east by the Atlantic, and had Spanish Florida for its southern limit; but its western boundaries were uncertain, some confining them to the river Illinois, which nearly connects the great chain of internal lakes with the Mississippi, and others tracing them to the western shores of America itself, or to the great Southern Ocean,
We begin with the northern extremity, of which East Main in the west, and Labrador on the east, constitute the principal divisions. They are still amongst the unconquered regions of America, and were at this time very little known.
Newfoundland, forming the extreme eastern point of North America, and being the first of our transatlantic possessions, was, with St John's, a neighbouring island, included in the government of Nova Scotia. It alone measures one hundred and twentyfive leagues from north to south, and from east to west nearly one hundred. A few Esquimaux are found scattered up and down its trackless wilds, It was ceded to the English by France at the peace of Utrecht, and is principally valuable for its vast fishing bank, from which myriads of cod have been taken annually for two centuries, without appearing in any way to diminish their numbers. - Nova Scotia, formerly called Acadia by the French, was wholly neglected by Europeans till about the year 1748 (when the town of Halifax was settled by Great Britain ;) and at that period it comprehended the present province of New Brunswick, It is intersected by noble rivers, and crowned with inexhaustible forests of pine, spruce, birch, beech, elm, fir, and other timber. Proceeding now southward (the French at this time possessing to the west the whole of Canada) New England was composed of the four provinces known by the names of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The southern boundary was New York, which extended to the north on both sides of the river Hudson, about two hundred miles into the country once belonging to the Irroquois, the Indians of the Five Na. tions. This province included Long Island. Contiguous to New York, in a south-west direction along the shores of the Atlantic, was the small province of New Jersey, bounded westward by the river Delaware, which separated it from Pennsylvania.
The soil, climate, and produce, of these provinces, were very similar. In New York several mines of iron were worked profitably, and New Jersey yielded very rich copper ore. Forests abounding with oak, ash, beech, walnut-tree, pine, cypress, cedar, &c., were scattered over the whole country; and weighty crops of grain, with abundance of sheep, horses, hogs, and horned cattle, were everywhere found ; also poultry, game, vegetables of all sorts, and excellent fruit, particularly peaches and melons.
Pennsylvania, containing the capital, was two hundred and fifty miles in length, two hundred in breadth, and understood to extend from the Atlantic to the lake Erie, on which the French had a fort. It was originally settled by Quaker families, under the direction of the celebrated William Penn, whose descendants were the proprietaries of the province, down to the period of its separation from the mother-country.
Maryland, a settlement of Catholics, extended along the bay of Chesapeake about one hundred and forty miles, and was of about the same breadth, being bounded northward by Pennsylvania, on the east by the Atlantic, and by the river Potowmac on the south. The climate here indicates our nearer approach to the equator, the summers being very sultry, and the soil proportionably fruitful. Tobacco was at this time the staple commodity.
Adjoining this province was Virginia, having the bay of Chesapeake for its eastern boundary, Carolina on the south, and extending westward to the Allegany
mountains : its breadth and length being about two hundred miles. Here also were noble forests, plains covered with luxuriant vegetation and grazed by prolific herds of European cattle, and numerous wild animals. Farther south, between the 31st and 40th degrees of north latitude, were the two Carolinas, comprising a tract of country upwards of four hundred miles in length, and in breadth about three hundred miles, extending from the sea to the territory of the Creek and Cherokee nations. North Carolina carried on a flourishing trade with the mother-country in tar, pitch, turpentine, staves, shingles, grain, &c., through the commodious harbour of Charlestown. · The most southern of the British North American settlements was Georgia, extending along the seacoast about sixty miles from north to south, and of various breadth inland, being in the direction of the great Apalachian ridge nearly three hundred miles from east to west. It was bounded on the south by the river Attamaha and Spanish Florida, and carried on the most extensive trade with the Indian tribes of any of our provinces.
With this succinct view of the British colonies before him, the reader will now be better able to resume our narrative.
The home government, apprehending war with France, in the year 1754, felt the importance of conciliating both the colonists and the native tribes of America. Commissioners from all the colonies were therefore appointed to assemble at Albany to concert measures for their common defence, as well as to conclude treaties with the chiefs of the Six Nations. Franklin was at this time so much impressed with the importance of a permanent union among the colonies, that he prepared on his way a project for their being comprehended under one government, with reasons against partial unions, &c. Indeed this seemed with Franklin the all-important business of their present meeting. He therefore moved a resolution expressive of the general opinion of the com
missioners, that such an union should be established; and a committee was appointed, consisting of one member from each colony, to consider and report upon plans for the same. That of Franklin, after much discussion, was adopted with few amendments; and as it throws great light upon the political state of Anglo-America previous to the separation, and exhibits very clearly a step in the progress to that inevitable result, we give the substance of it.
Having premised, that an union of the colonies was absolutely essential for their preservation, that it was necessary it should be established by act of parliament, and that partial unions would be difficult to effect, practically weaker, and more liable to be interfered with by selfish views, it was therefore proposed– That humble application be made for an act of parliament from Great Britain, by virtue of which one general government may be formed in America, including all the said colonies, within and under which government each colony may retain its presente constitution, except in the particulars wherein a change may be directed by the said act, as hereafter follows:- That the said general government be administered by a president-general, to be appointed and supported by the crown; and a grand council, to be chosen by the representatives of the people of the several colonies met in their respective assemblies. That within months after the passing such act, the house of representatives, that happen to be sitting within that time, or that shall be especially for that purpose convened, may and shall choose members for the grand council, in the following proportion; that is to say—
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48 who shall meet, for the first time, at the city of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, being called by the president-general, as soon as conveniently may be after his appointment. That there shall be a new election of the members of the grand council every three years; and on the death or resignation of any member, his place shall be supplied by a new choice at the next sitting of the assembly of the colony he represented.—That after the first three year, when the proportion of money, arising out of each colony to the general treasury, can be known, the number of members to be chosen for each colony shall, from time to time, in all ensuing elections, be regulated by that proportion (yet so as that the members to be chosen by any one province be not more than seven, nor less than two.)—That the grand council shall meet once in every year, and oftener if occasion require, at such time and place as they shall adjourn to at the last preceding meeting, or as they shall be called to meet at by the president-general on any emergency; he having first obtained, in writing, the consent of seven of the members to such call, and sent due and timely notice to the whole.—That the grand council have power to choose their speaker, and shall neither be dissolved, prorogued, nor continued sitting longer than six weeks at one time, without their own consent, or the special command of the crown.-That the members of the grand council shall be allowed, for their service, ten shillings sterling per diem, during their session, and journey to and from the place of meeting ; twenty miles to be reckoned a day's journey.-That the assent of the president-gene