British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

V
FRONTIER PROBLEMS

A. NORTH AMERICA

1
CONSEDIRATIONS ON THE PROPRIETY OF GREAT BRITAIN ABANDONING THE INDIAN POSTS AND COMING TO A GOOD UNDERSTANDING WITH AMERICA, July 17941

Those who made the peace with America ought, when they drew the boundary line, to have made some terms or conditions for the Indians who possessed the southern countries or that part to the southward and westward of the line.2 We certainly had no right to cede to America what never belonged to us; for even on the reserved side, our Government are extremely careful in giving offence to the natives; and no attempt is made to make any settlement, without consulting the Indians, and a regular purchase made, by treaty. Now as the Indians had behaved faithfully to us during that war, we ought to have made some terms for them, and not insulted them by giving away their country without their consent. The Indians, therefore, have a strong claim upon us. To this conduct on our part, may be attributed the Indian war with America. The Americans considered our cession of the country as a title; the Indians say the country is theirs--and have defended their claim. We, again, under the pretence of infringement of the articles of peace by the Americans, chiefly founded on the confiscation of property etc., have kept possession of the posts on the American side of the line. . . .

It is by no means the interest of Great Britain to encourage an Indian war--all the settlers of America are customers for Great Britain--the Indians are also our customers; it is not our business nor interest that they should destroy one another: the more settlers in America of new land the better for us, and the longer time they will be of becoming manufacturers. We ought therefore to encourage these back settlers, the more so, as they will in time receive all their supplies by the way of Canada; it is the only means of making that country a valuable colony to Great Britain, and will prevent America ever

____________________
1
Chatham Papers, P.R.O. 30/8/344. An unsigned memorandum.
2
On the assumption that an Anglo-American commercial alliance would be immediately concluded, no provision for the protection of the Indian allies of Britain had been made in the peace Treaty of 1783, but this omission had been somewhat mitigated by British retention of the western forts, contrary to the Treaty. By Jay's Treaty, however, they were to be given up.

-477-

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