The French in the Mississippi Valley, 1740-1750

The French in the Mississippi Valley, 1740-1750

The French in the Mississippi Valley, 1740-1750

The French in the Mississippi Valley, 1740-1750

Excerpt

The decade 1740-1750 was one of supreme importance to the future of the French colonies in North America.It was in this period that war was resumed between England and France after a generation of peace. Though the struggle between the two great powers for the hegemony of North America was thus resumed, four years of fighting (1744-1748) resulted only in the re-establishment of the status quo ante bellum. The peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, then, merely called a temporary halt to the general struggle, and both sides began at once to prepare for the early reopening of hostilities.

It has constantly been the purpose of the writer to make a detailed study of this period with the view of determining the importance of the of the western regions in shaping the destiny of French power in America. Though secondary works have been carefully consulted, the study as presented is based almost entirely on source materials, many of which are now used for the first time. In the French documents, the expense accounts for the western posts (Archives Nationales, Series C A) have been searched carefully.This material, which has been consistently overlooked by scholars in the past, has given a wealth of detailed information on the political, social, and economic life of the times. Likewise the Vaudreuil Manuscripts, now used for the first time, have revealed important information on affairs in southern Louisiana.The use of the colonial records of South Carolina and Georgia as found in the Public Record Office has shed new light on the southeastern border region in this period.

This study was begun in 1935-1936 as a doctoral dissertation. At that time the writer limited the subject to the "upper country"—the pays d'en haut of the French.Additional research in 1938 and later has led to a broadening of the scope of the study so as to include more of affairs in the southern part of the country. For example, the pursuit of the roots of the Chickasaw problem has emphasized Franco-English relations in the southeastern region.

In the first chapter of this study, the governmental system of New France is described in order to introduce the reader to the nature of the colonial administration, the various problems presented, and the weaknesses inherent.Then follows a chapter on the population and industry of the western country, emphasizing the difficulties of settlement, the crude conditions of culture and industry, and the plans proposed for development. In the third chapter the fur trade is treated with particular reference to the western country. Here an attempt is made to give fullest details of the Anglo-French commercial rivalry and its bearing on political . . .

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