History of the United States of America, from the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 4

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III.
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
1788 TO 5 MAY 1789.

IT was time for America to be known abroad as a nation. The statesmen of France reproached her unsparingly for failing in her pecuniary engagements. Boatmen who bore the flag of the United States on the father of rivers were fearlessly arrested by Spain, while Don Gardoqui, its agent, in private conversation tempted the men of Kentucky “to declare themselves independent” by the assurance that he was authorized to treat with them as a separate power respecting commerce and the navigation of the Mississippi.*

The colonists in Nova Scotia were already absorbing a part of south-eastern Maine, and inventing false excuses for doing so. Great Britain declined to meet her own obligations with regard to the slaves whom she had carried away, and who finally formed the seed of a British colony at Sierra Leone. She did not give up her negotiations with the men of Vermont. She withheld the interior posts, belonging to the United States; in the commission for the government of Upper Canada she kept out of sight the line of boundary, in order that the commanding officer might not scruple to crowd the Americans away from access to their inland water-line, and thus debar them from their rightful share in the fur-trade. She was all the while encouraging the Indian tribes within the bounds of New York and to the south of the western lakes to assert their independence. Hearing of the discontent of the Kentuckians and the men of west North Carolina, she sought to foment the

* Letters to Washington, iv., 248.

-463-

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