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No. 209.


(SIXTH ED., VOL. VI., LONDON, 1810.)

Chap. V.
    "By the IV. and VII. articles of the last treaty of peace, Canada was ceded to Great Britain in its utmost extent. This stretched the northern part of our possessions on the continent of America from one ocean to the other. The cession of Louisiana to the Mississippi, and of the Spanish Florida on both seas, made our American empire complete. No frontiers could be more distinctly defined, nor more perfectly secured. The only object of attention, which seemed left to Great Britain, was to render these acquisitions as beneficial in traffic, as they were extensive in territory. An immense waste of savage country was evidently to a commercial nation no great object for the present; but it was a considerable one in hope, because it contained an inexhaustible variety of soils, climates, and situations, and thereby afforded ample materials for the exertion of wealth and skill in its improvement to all the purposes of trade. These exertions were not likely to be wanting, or to be ineffectual. Independent of national motives, the administration in England had a particular interest in improving those acquisitions to the utmost; they were to justify the choice they had made in preferring them to the West India islands. They therefore took very great pains to come at an exact knowledge of every thing, which could tend to render our new conquests on this continent flourishing and commercial. To this end they judged it expedient to divide them into three separate and independent governments.
    The first, and most northerly of these divisions was called the government of Quebec. It is bounded on the Labrador coast by the river of St. John, or Saguenay. This river continues the boundary of the colony, as it runs from the westward, until you come to a lake, which it meets in its course, called the Lake of St. John.
    To form the western boundary, an imaginary line is here drawn from that lake to another, which is situated to the south-west of it, and is called Nipissim. At this lake they changed the direction of the line, so as to make it cross the river St. Lawrence and the Lake Champlain in forty-five degrees of north

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latitude; and this formed the southern boundary. From thence striking the line to the north-east, they carried it quite to the gulph of St. Lawrence, through the high lands, which separate the rivers which fall into the great river of Canada from those which fall into the ocean. This government is very short, almost upon every side, of the extent of the government of Canada, whilst it continued in the hands of the French.
    They divided the southern part of our conquests on this continent into two governments, those of East and West Florida. The former was bounded towards the north by our colony of Georgia; to the east and south by the Atlantic ocean and the gulph of Florida; and on the west by the river Apalachicola.
    The latter, or West Florida, was bounded on the east by the same river. Its southern frontier ran along the gulph of Mexico to the Lake Pontchartrain on one of the mouths of the Mississippi. This great river formed its boundary to the west unto the 31st degree of latitude, from which a line was struck across from the northern limit, due east, until it met the abovementioned river Apalachicola.
    As to the shore of Labrador and the adjacent islands in the gulph of St. Lawrence, their value consists, in a manner wholly, in the fishery carried on upon their coasts. It is of importance to that branch of commerce to be under strict regulations; and this could never be well compassed, unless the coast, near which it is carried on, was under a single direction. With great judgement, therefore, all the coast of Labrador from the river Saguenay to Hudson's streights, and all the neighbouring islands, were put under the care and inspection of the Governor of Newfoundland. But the islands of St. John and Cape Breton were annexed, as their situation required, to Nova Scotia.
    The reader will observe, and possibly with some surprise, that in this distribution, much the largest, and perhaps the most valuable part of our conquests, does not fall into any of these governments; that the environs of the great lakes, the fine countries on the whole course of the Ohio and Ouabache, and almost all that tract of Louisiana, which lies on the hither branch of the Mississippi, are none of them comprehended in this distribution. The government of West Florida extends in no part much above half a degree from the sea.
    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 royal proclamation of the 7th of October, 1763, strictly forbids any purchases or settlements beyond the limits of the three above-mentioned governments, or any extension of our old colonies beyond the heads of the rivers which fall from the westward into the Atlantic ocean; reserving expressly all the territory behind these as an hunting ground for the Indians. The crown, however, retains its right of making purchases and agreements with the Indians.



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