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side." He argued that their numbers prevented the colonies from becoming dangerous to Great Britain. Their mutual jealousies prevented union "without the most grievous tyranny and oppression." Perhaps Franklin's argument had some weight in deciding the British government to retain Canada and the west instead of Guadaloupe. Soon after the peace,' the King's proclamation was issued. His majesty ordered the organization of the governments of East and West Florida, Quebec and Granada; but the rest of the land just acquired from France was reserved "for the present," "for the use of the...Indians," as also all the land and territories lying to the westward of the sources of the rivers which fall into the sea from the west and northwest." The king further declared; - "We do hereby strictly forbid on pain of our displeasure, all our loving subjects from making any purchases or settlements whatever, or taking possession of any of the lands above reserved without our special leave and license for that purpose first obtained. "2

Now what was the real object of this proclamation? The Annual Register, after remarking on the fact that the largest and best part of the conquered country had not been placed under any government, said: "Many reasons may be assigned for this apparent omission. A consideration of the Indians was, we presume, the principal, because it might have given a sensible alarm to that people, if they had seen us formally cantoning out their whole country into regular establishments. It was in this idea that the the royal proclamation of the 7th of October, 1763, strictly

1 Canada Pamphlet, Works III., 111. Sparks says (Franklin's Works, IV., 1) that this "pamphlet was believed to have had great weight in the ministerial councils, and to have been mainly instrumental in causing Canada to be held at the peace." If this is true, Franklin's argument may have suggested the King's proclamation as the first step in a far-seeing plan which, admitting the inevitable settlement of the west, proposed to limit at once the colonies "on the maritime coast," contemplating the existence of "as many more behind them on the inland side"- the whole object being to reduce America to the then condition of the German empire, i. e., many and weak governments, rather than few and strong ones. This is, however, merely conjecture.


any extension of our old colonies beyond "Washington wrote in

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the heads of the rivers. 1767, "I can never look upon that proclamation in any other light (but this I say between ourselves) than a temporary expedient to quiet the minds of the Indians. It must fall, of course, in a few years, especially when those Indians consent to our occupying the lands."2 But probably the very best authority for the purpose of the proclamation was George Grenville, prime minister of Great Britain when it was issued. He always admitted that the design of it was totally accomplished, so soon as the country was purchased from the natives." This evidence would indicate that the proclamation was merely "a temporary expedient" and that it was not contemplated to place a permanent check on western settlement. This view is supported, too, by the words of the proclamation itself, which says that the west is reserved "for the present . . . for the use of the Indians; orders all settlers to remove from all "lands, which, not having been ceded to, or purchased by, us, are still reserved to the Indians; " forbids private persons to purchase lands of the Indians, but when the latter "should be inclined to dispose of the said lands, the same shall be purchased only for us;" and that none of "our loving subjects" may take possession of any of the land in question "without our special leave and license for that purpose first obtained.' Why not accept as the object of the restrictions the reason given in the proclamation; viz., that the Indians I should not be molested or disturbed in the possession of such parts of our dominions and territories as, not having been ceded to, or purchased by, us, are reserved to them." 5


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J Annual Register, 1773, p. 20.

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2 Washington-Crawford Letters (Butterfield), p. 3.

Franklin's Works, V., 37.

Franklin's Works, V., 80. The italics are mine.

Ibid., p. 79. Professor Coffin says there seems to be no reason for doubting that

Franklin argued for that view in his successful reply to Hillsborough. The latter contended in 1772 that the "two capital objects" of the proclamation were to restrict the settlements to territory where they could be kept in due subjection to the home government, and also within reach of the trade and commerce of Great Britain.' Hillsborough was first made President of the Board of Trade in September, 1763, and so was in position to know its object when the proclamation was issued.

Between the two views, supported as they are, it is impossible to come to a definite conclusion; but considering Hillsborough's alleged "insincerity," the contradictory statements of the then prime minister, and the fact that not the Board of Trade, but the Council had the real decision of questions of policy, is it not probable that Hillsborough's view was wrong? It is quite possible indeed that Hillsborough from the first, intended one thing, while the British government, as a whole, intended something quite different. And we must finally conclude from the evidence at hand that the probable object of the King's proclamation was to quiet the Indians and keep settlers off the unpurchased lands leaving the final disposition of those lands to the future. This view is borne out by subsequent facts.


Three years had scarcely passed after the issuing of the proclamation when the Illinois scheme was agitated and was "really approved" by Lord Shelburne, Secretary of State, who had a control of colonial affairs independent, at that time, of the Board of Trade. The matter, however, was "referred to the Board of Trade for their opinion" by the King in council.

A great object of colonization was, of course, "to pro

the proclamation is what it appears to be. The Province of Quebec and the Early American Revolution, p. 415. But see his interpretation, pp. 398-431, and especially p. 428.

1 Ibid., p. 4.




mote and extend the commerce of Great Britain." the scheme was referred to the merchants by the Board of Trade, they declared unanimously that if colonies were established at Detroit and in the Illinois country, they would promote and extend the said commerce. With this decision the argument that the new colonies would not meet the great end for which colonies were established, could hardly stand. Indeed the evidence indicates that up to the time Lord Hillsborough was made both President of the Board of Trade and Secretary of State for the colonies, the British government was favorable to the Illinois scheme. Soon after that, Franklin wrote, "Counsels are so continually fluctuating here that nothing can be depended on." 3 This doubtless has reference to the death of Townsend, the illness of Pitt, Hillsborough's promotion, and various changes in the ministry during 1768. It was probably due to these changes that the Illinois scheme failed. Its failure is some evidence that British policy was at that time opposed to western colonization.

In the fall of that same year, however, the British government bought, for a considerable sum, the claims of the Six Nations to a vast tract of land west of the Alleghany mountains. Why was that purchase made if it was the British policy to restrict all settlement to the region east of the mountains? The purchase is strictly in accordance with the theory of the King's proclamation advanced above.

Finally, we see the British government convinced that the establishment of the Vandalia colony would be for the advantage of Great Britain, and the papers for its erection actually drawn up. So we may say that at last it was British policy to establish at least one new colony west of the Alleghany mountains.

I Notice, in this connection, Lord Clare's opinion in regard to the fur trade. See above, p. 19.

2 See above, pp. 18, 19.

See above, p. 19.

That the British ministry expected to exert a strong influence in the establishment and operation of whatever new western governments might be established, there can be no doubt. Of course, too, unauthorized settlements beyond the reach of governmental authority could scarcely meet British approval, as tending only to cause Indian uprisings. Lord Dartmouth, writing to Dunmore in September, 1774, and speaking of the British policy "from the Royal Proclamation of 1763 down to the present time," said: "It has been the invariable Policy of this Country to prevent, by every possible means, any Settlement of the King's subjects in situations where they could not fail of exciting the jealousy of and giving dissatisfaction to the Indians, and where at the same time the Settlers would be out of reach either of the control or protection of the King's Government. This, of course, could not be applied to estab. lishments under conditions similar to those of the proposed Vandalia, else Dartmouth could hardly have called the policy "invariable."

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But to sum up all the evidence, what was the British western policy during the third quarter of the eighteenth century? It may have been a consistent one; but from the evidence at hand, we are not able definitely to affirm that it was, for we are still unable to tell the reasons for the King's proclamation and the final failure of the Illinois scheme. Indeed with the many ministerial changes made during the period,' one could hardly expect a consistent policy. Then too, there was doubtless more or less indiffer

1 Mass. Hist. Colls. X., 725. Cf. Dunmore's reply in Clark MSS. (Draper Colls.) XV., 4. The ministerial changes were especially frequent during the first decade of George III's reign. Notice the following prime ministers:

1757, Newcastle-Pitt coalition.

1761, Newcastle (Pitt resigned).

1762, Bute.

1763, George Grenville.

1765, Rockingham.

1766, Chatham.

1767, Grafton.

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