BY the terms of the Treaty of Paris, February 10, 1763, France renounced possession of her entire empire in North America, excepting two little island fishing bases, St. Pierre and Miquelon, off the south shore of Newfoundland. Great Britain now controlled not only Canada (New France) and Acadia, but the whole of the continent east of the Mississippi from the Gulf of Mexico1 to the shores of Hudson Bay. Yet she accepted the spoils of war without enthusiasm, for the task of governing a vast inland domain was almost certain to be an irritating and baffling experience. In the St. Lawrence Valley Englishmen would have to deal not merely with 60,000 people of differing religion, language and customs, but with a conquered race of equal civilization to their own. Moreover, it seemed highly probable that the long years of savage frontier strife would leave a legacy of bitterness that even the most generous administration would not assuage.

The prospect of economic gain afforded by the new territories was not of a kind to excite the rulers of Whitehall or Westminster. On the map the huge new expanse of British red was impressive, but from the point of view of trade balances the Northern domain seemed almost worthless. Britain's most valued possessions were situated in tropical or semi-tropical zones, and were cherished because they furnished commodities which the mother country could not herself produce, and would otherwise have to purchase from foreign nations. Indeed, prior to the final negotiations of 1762, there had been some discussion as to whether Guadeloupe in the West Indies might not prove a more desirable acquisition than New France.

On the whole few of the English educated classes knew much about Canada, and many who did know were despondent. Samuel Johnson, fortified in his conclusions by Voltaire, saw

Excluding New Orleans.


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Canada: A Short History


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