Слике страница
PDF
ePub

St. Croix River was finally agreed on; from the source of the St. Croix the boundary was to follow the highlands to the Boundaries Connecticut River, along that river to the fortydefined fifth parallel, thence westward to the St. Lawrence, through the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes to the Lake of the Woods and from the northwest point of that lake due west to the Mississippi; thence down the Mississippi to the thirty-first parallel; thence along the thirtyfirst parallel to the Appalachicola, down the Appalachicola to its junction with the Flint, thence east to the head of the St. Mary's River and down that river to the Atlantic Ocean. While the description of this boundary in the treaty seems sufficiently clear, very little was known of the St. Croix River or of the Lake of the Woods and the source of the Mississippi, and the language was later found to be inexact and open to differing constructions, a fact which led in the years to come to serious controversies.

American fishermen were admitted to the waters of Canada and Newfoundland, and the right to navigate the Other points Mississippi was secured. It was also agreed that agreed on no impediments should be thrown in the way of the legal recovery of debts due to British subjects, but the demand that the American Congress should restore to the loyalists their confiscated estates, valued at $20,000,000, or reimburse them with public lands, met with determined opposition. It was finally agreed that Congress should earnestly recommend to the States to restore to the loyalists their confiscated property. It was, however, generally understood that this recommendation would amount to nothing. Great Britain herself later compensated the more active loyalists with pensions or lands in Canada.

The preliminary treaty was signed November 30, 1782. Laurens, having arrived two days before, united with Franklin, Jay, and Adams in signing it. Vergennes was not consulted in the negotiations and not informed of the

The treaty

terms of the treaty until after it was signed. It took all of Franklin's suavity and tact to appease him. The Franklin said to him : “Nothing has been agreed, signed. Its in the preliminaries, contrary to the interests of reception France; and no peace is to take place between us and England till you have concluded yours.”

The feeling of the majority of the Congress of the United States was that the commissioners were not justified in departing from their instructions. They were, therefore, thanked for their services, but mildly reproved for their conduct towards France. In England the treaty was regarded as too liberal in its terms and it caused the overthrow of the ministry, but the new ministry signed the definitive treaty in the exact terms of the preliminary, September 3, 1783.

During the war the revenues of the government had been derived from three sources : Continental paper currency, known as “bills of credit”; domestic and foreign Finas loans; and taxes, levied by means of requisitions the Revoluon the States. From the last source less than tion $6,000,000 was derived, since the States failed to honor the requisitions of Congress. Over $240,000,000 of paper money was issued between 1775 and 1779, but as Congress was unable to redeem any of it at par, it rapidly depreciated, and finally became utterly worthless. From domestic loans and supplies about $28,000,000 was received. The agents of the United States abroad borrowed $6,352,500 from France, $1,304,000 from Holland, and $174,000 from Spain, making a total of $7,830,500. The individual States, besides issuing large volumes of paper money, incurred heavy foreign and domestic debts in carrying on the war. The amount of the State debts was estimated by Hamilton in 1790 at $25,000,000.

Finances of

TOPICAL REFERENCES

1. The War in the South : Fiske, American Revolution, Vol. II, pp. 164–185; Greene, Revolutionary War, pp. 191-214; Carrington, Battles of the American Revolution, pp. 477–498.

2. The Battle of Camden: Fiske, Vol. II, pp. 185–194; Greene, pp. 215–219; Carrington, pp. 513-522.

3. Treason of Benedict Arnold: Fiske, Vol. II, Chap. XIV; Van Tyne, American Revolution, pp. 306–308; Channing, History of the United States, Vol. III, pp. 304–307; Greene, pp. 166–169.

4. King's Mountain and Cowpens: Fiske, Vol. II, pp. 244-255; Greene, pp. 223-231; Carrington, pp. 542-547; Roosevelt, Winning of the West, Vol. II, Chap. IX.

5. Greene and Cornwallis in the Carolinas: Fiske, Vol. II, pp. 256–268; Greene, pp. 232–258; Carrington, pp. 547–583.

6. The Yorktown Campaign: Fiske, Vol. II, pp. 269–290 ; Greene, pp. 259–281; Carrington, pp. 584–647.

7. The Peace Negotiations: Channing, Vol. III, pp. 346–373; Fiske, Critical Period, Chap. I; Foster, Century of American Diplomacy, Chap. II; A. C. McLaughlin, The Confederation and the Constitution, Chaps. I, II.

[ocr errors]

PART III

NATIONAL ORGANIZATION

CHAPTER X

THE ADOPTION OF THE CONSTITUTION

The States had at last won their independence, but they were burdened with heavy foreign and domestic debts and held together in a precarious union by a constitu- The articles tion which was utterly inadequate to meet the of Condemands of the future. During the greater part federation of the Revolution the only central governing body was the Continental Congress, which exercised only such authority and powers as the States cared for the time being to recognize. The Articles of Confederation which had been drafted by the Continental Congress and submitted to the States in 1777 were not finally ratified until 1781, a few months before the surrender of Cornwallis. They established a weak Confederation, without an executive or a judiciary, and with a Congress which had no power to regulate commerce or to levy taxes. When it needed money it had to ask the States. It could not proceed against individuals, and if a State refused to pay its share of a requisition, there was no redress, as the coercion of a State was out of the question.

The Articles contained one clause of importance which was retained in the Constitution of the United States and which was the first step toward the creation of a national citizenship. It provided that the free inhabitants of each State should be

western

"entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States.” Such in brief was the first instrument of government adopted by the United States. After the war was over and all immediate danger removed the States paid less heed than ever to what little power Congress possessed and that body sank into a state of hopeless inefficiency. Its latter days were redeemed, however, by one measure of consummate statesmanship, the famous Ordinance of 1787.

The territory north of the Ohio River was claimed by Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and Virginia.

The claims of Massachusetts and Connecticut Claims to

were based on their colonial charters; the claim lands

of New York was based on the theory that she had fallen heir to all the lands over which the Iroquois had held sway; while that of Virginia which overlapped all the others was based on the charter of 1609 supplemented by the conquest of George Rogers Clark. South of the Ohio Virginia's claim to Kentucky was generally recognized, while the remaining territory as far south as the thirtyfirst parallel was claimed by North and South Carolina and Georgia. The other six States had no western lands and desired to extend the authority of Congress over the disputed area.

On October 15, 1777, while the Articles of Confederation were still under discussion, the Maryland delegation pro

posed that Congress should be given the right to Northwest Territory

"fix the western boundary of such States as claim ceded to the to the Mississippi or South Sea; and lay out the

land beyond the boundary so ascertained into

separate and independent States from time to time as the numbers and circumstances of the people thereof may require." Until this was done Maryland refused to ratify the Articles of Confederation. Her territory was limited and she did not care to be overshadowed by the vast empire which Virginia claimed.

United
States

« ПретходнаНастави »