British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

American settlers than any she possesses: that the very circumstances of its peninsular situation is likely to prevent emigration from this to the circumjacent shores till the whole country shall be filled up; and that this condensation of a numerous industrious agricultural people is the real force of a nation and the most desirable strength of a frontier colony.

The future prospects this peninsular country holds out are that proportionately as the surrounding countries become populous, it will become the secure medium, as Holland is to Germany, of the most profitable intercourse with all the inhabitants between the Apalachian mountains and the Mississippi now colonizing in a fruitful climate, capable by a little commercial encouragement of being made to produce a variety of raw materials which Great Britain at present procures from foreign, if not from hostile, nations and which will be exchanged for British commodities; and this commercial intercourse may acquire establishment at the very period when every nation seems to aim at acquiring commerce and naval power by imports and acts of navigation of its own.

The Spanish Court is particularly jealous in preventing these trans-Apalachian Americans from passing down the Mississippi; in consequence they must be reduced to the paths over the mountains to obtain all those commodities which they are necessitated to import from Europe, or they must procure them by means of their rivers which are navigable with[in] ten, twenty or thirty miles of the Lakes.

It is our business to seize hold of the opportunity while the League of Congress with the House of Bourbon prevents them from assisting their trans-Apalachian subjects in forcing the passage down the Mississippi and while those new settlements are in their infancy which would render such an attempt on their part without the aid of Congress, though the Indians should be neutral, precarious and difficult. It seems to be our business to grasp at this moment to possess ourselves of this growing trade and to turn it by all the powers of first possession and habit into this advantageous channel, bearing always in mind the immense strength which the carrying trade of this increasing commerce and which, by means of Quebec, we shall exclusively possess will add to the bulwark of Great Britain its naval power. . . .


19
LORD HAWKESBURY TO LORD GRENVILLE 17 October 17941

MY DEAR LORD,

I received last night the box and letter you sent me, and though I am so unfortunate as to differ with your Lordship in opinion on one

____________________
1

Chatham Papers, P.R.O./30/8/152. Printed in Canadian Hist. Rev., vol. xv, p. 46. Grenville, as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, was engaged in negotiations with

-272-

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