Revolutionary New England, 1691-1776

By James Truslow Adams | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
THE WRONG TURNING

England's New Colonial Policy -- Western Expansion and Rise of Speculative Business -- Colonial Indian Policy -- Conflicts of Economic Interests -- Need for a Revision of Imperial Relations -- Plans for Colonial Union -- Effect of Their Failure

FROM the early mid-years of the century England was considering making many of those changes in her colonial administration which, in the main, she did make after the Seven Years' War. That struggle, though it emphasized in her opinion the necessity for such changes, so far from suggesting them merely delayed them. On the other hand, though the colonists might have resisted these innovations at any time, the effects of the war economically, intellectually and politically made such resistance inevitable. In the years immediately following 1750 there was no thought that in another decade England would have come into possession of Canada and all the Mississippi Valley, yet her intentions were forming to centralize the control of Indian policy, of land policy, to pass on a greater share of the expense of colonial administration to the colonists in some form of taxation, to unify the administration to a greater extent and, commercially, to cause the colonies to adhere more closely to the strict ideals of the Mercantile System for her own benefit.1 The policy entered upon by English statesmen after 1763, therefore, was not one which had been forced upon them by the mere exigencies of a post-bellum situation. It was a return to a policy interrupted by the war, and which represented the altered attitude of the English upper classes at this period, to which allusion has already been made, and which was manifested in many ways.2

____________________
1
McCormac, Colonial Opposition to Imperial Authority, pp. 2f.; Victor Coffin, The Province of Quebec and the early American Revolution, ( Madison, Wisconsin, 1896), p. 411; G. B. Hertz, The old Colonial System, ( Manchester, 1905), p. ix.
2
Vide supra, chap. VI.

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