History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 6

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXX.
THE ORIGIN OF TENNESSEE

OCTOBER 1770–JUNE 1771.

No one had more vividly discerned the capacity of the Mississippi valley, not only to sustain commonwealths, but to connect them with the world by commerce, than Franklin; and when the ministers would have rejected the Fort Stanwix treaty, which conveyed from the Six Nations an inchoate title to an immense territory south-west of the Ohio, his influence secured its ratification, by organizing a powerful company to plant a province in that part of the country which lay between the Alleghanies and a line drawn from the Cumberland gap to the month of the Scioto.

Virginia resisted the proposed limitation of her jurisdiction, as fatal to her interests, entreating an extension of her borders westward to the Tennessee river. It would be tedious to rehearse the pleas of the colony; the hesitations of Hillsborough; the solicitations of Botetourt; the adverse representations of the board of trade; the meetings of agents with the beloved men of the Cherokees. On the seventeenth of October, two days after the death of Botetourt, a treaty, conforming to the decision of the British cabinet, was made at Lochaber, confining the Ancient Dominion on the north-west to the mouth of the Kanawha, while on the south it extended only to within six miles of the Holston river. When in the following year the line was run by Donelson for Virginia, the Cherokee chief consented that it should cross from the Holston to the Louisa, or Kentucky river, and follow it to the Ohio. But the change was disapproved in England; so that the West, little encumbered by valid titles, was reserved for the self-directed emigrant.

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