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The Tribes and the States

W. J. Sidis




        98. Royal Peace Proclamation.  British territory in America, increased as it was by the treaty of peace, and, for the same reason, freed of the foreign boundary disputes which had troubled it up to this time, was apportioned into provinces by a proclamation issued by King George III shortly after the treaty was signed. The original provincial divisions of the former English colonies were retained, but new land had to be apportioned, and the English provinces in America expected the new territory to be divided among them; in fact, the southern provinces, especially Virginia, where the war had started, fought for that specific purpose of acquiring new territory from the French.

         But such was not the arrangement. A part of Florida was annexed to Georgia, the remainder being divided into two provinces, East Florida and West Florida, definitely delimited by the proclamation, the division line being the Perdido or Pensacola River; East Florida (which covers the area of the present State of Florida) being the part settled by the Spanish from Cuba, while West Florida covered a region mainly settled by the French, including such cities as Mobile and Biloxi.

         On the north side, the provinces of Nova Scotia, and the province of New Brunswick which had been formed during the war out of the land between Nova Scotia and Maine, were recognized; and the remainder of Canada north of the Great Lakes was formed into the Province of Quebec, put under a temporary civil government with English law. Since Maine had been disputed territory up to the Great Ohio War, a definite boundary was set, which was, however, poorly defined and never surveyed, but which took in much territory which had been definitely settled by the French.

         The provision of the proclamation that caused the most dismay among those colonial elements who had been looking for expansion and additional land, was that which forbade all settlement of colonists at any new points west of the Appalachian watershed between the Great Lakes and Florida, reserving all this territory for the use of the red nations. Existing white communities in this area, such as Detroit, Vincennes, and Pittsburgh, were permitted to continue; but the idea of reserving all this region for the free growth of the red peoples was a move considered necessary by the British for the purpose of preventing further unnecessary race wars in America, and a move which naturally antagonized the groups of "land-grabbers" such as the Virginian aristocrats who had started the war.

         Vermont, which had established an independent unrecognized administration during the war, was placed under the control of the Province of New York. This meant the destruction of the existing representative government in Vermont and the complete outlawing of the town meetings which were the foundation of New England popular rule, substituting the irresponsible rule of an almost despotic governor, under which New York had been ever since its foundation. But it was one thing to place Vermont under New York on paper, and a totally different matter to enforce this decree. Vermont was able to resist successfully all attempts of New York authorities to take control, and the outlawed popular administration of Vermont remained in power long enough to serve as an example of independent action to the other English colonies in America.

         There still remained some internal boundary disputes which were not settled by the royal proclamation. In particular, the boundaries between New England and the middle provinces, as well as between middle and south, remained hazy, with overlapping claims. The Massachusetts corridor, the tribal avenue of escape to Iroquois territory during Metacom's war, and now in Massachusetts' possession, was also claimed by New York, while Massachusetts asserted rights through to the Pacific (now limited by the treaty to the Mississippi); so that Albany was claimed by Massachusetts, while Holyoke and Northampton were claimed by New York. A boundary was fixed in the Berkshires, near the back line of the Dutch manors, as late as 1773.

         But with the boundary between middle and southern colonies, the question was more acute. The end of hostilities had already opened up terrain for settlement farther west than either Pennsylvania or Maryland had previously attempted, and conflicting land grants by the two provinces made a tangle. As it was, a wide strip was claimed by both colonies, which included Baltimore as well as part of Philadelphia, not to mention Pennsylvania's autonomous appendage, the Delaware Counties. England accordingly commissioned two surveyors, Mason and Dixon, to survey and mark a new boundary which divided the disputed area between Pennsylvania and Maryland. This fixed a definite boundary between North and South, ever since known as Mason and Dixon’s line.

         99. The Ottawa Federation.  The Algonquin nations west of the Alleghany Mountains had been under French protection, and now France had, by peace treaty, surrendered them to be British subjects. That the French were defeated and could no longer protect them was a thing that these tribes could readily understand, hard as such a situation might be; but that the French should attempt to deliver up their former allies to the enemy in this fashion was regarded as sheer treachery. In this, not only not only the Shawnees, Ottawas, Wyandottes, Illinois, and many other central tribes were agreed, but also the Lenapes who had come over the mountains from the seacoast expressly to escape British power. A sagamore of the Ottawa by the name of Pontiac organized all these tribes into a federation called the Ottawa Federation.

         With the aid of an adopted white man, known only by his tribal name of Waccusta, Pontiac led the Ottawa Federation into a war against all the English forts of the northwest, in the spring of 1763, and succeeded in destroying many of these forts almost immediately. The post of Checagou, which had served for a long time as a link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi, and which, before the coming of the French, had for some reason been an important tribal town, was among those destroyed, and the site of the place was abandoned for some fifty years; in spite of which, it has become one of the most important cities in America. The only white outposts in this region which succeeded in holding out were Detroit and Michillimackinac (now Mackinac Island). Detroit was saved from a surprise capture by the warning of a red girl who was living with a British officer, and who betrayed her own people for that reason. After these two forts had withstood a ten-month siege, British reinforcements from the colonies made a successful sally from Detroit possible. The fortunes of war were now turned, and the British hunted down every trace of the Ottawa forces. Pontiac himself was killed, the Ottawa Federation broken up, and the tribes reduced to subjection.

         Fragments of the organization of the Ottawa Federation, however, persisted in the western portions, on the northern Mississippi, who were not under British dominion or claims. This combination became known as the United Tribes, or Dakota. It may be noted that this idea of giving a federation a purely federational name in this manner has been copied in the name United States, which could almost be a translation of the word Dakota.

         The British at this time attempted to prove that the Senecas, of the Iroquois Federation, who had been British allies throughout, and who had been really responsible for British victory in the war, were in this rebellion. This story may have served its purpose among those colonists who were trying to take Iroquois land, but there seems to be no truth whatever in the allegation.

         100. Spanish Expansion.  As we have seen, the French claims to "Louisiane" were vague, and no one knew how far they involved claims to either the Gulf of Mexico or the Pacific. Spain had already a few outposts in the so-called "New Mexico" region, such as Santa Fé and Tuscón, established in the sixteenth century, before the French had thought of laying claims to America; but even that region might have been claimed as part of "Louisiane," not to mention the Pacific Coast beyond. Since this claim had now been ceded to Spain, the Spanish now felt safe in colonizing the Pacific coast, to the northward of the peninsula which Cortez, the Spanish conqueror of Mexico, had named after a novel of his day, California.

         After the war, a group of Franciscan friars from Mexico, led by Junipero Serra, started northward up the Pacific coast from the California Peninsula to establish their missions in the new region of "Alta California," or Upper California. As was the usual Spanish method, under the guise of "conversion" the native tribes were made slaves of the missions, which parcelled out for themselves immense stretches of land, the remainder of the vast territory being divided into "ranchos" for various prominent Spanish families. The missions in many cases made "converts" by catching the red people with nets and dragging them in.

         The establishment of these missions went on for a period of about twenty years, after which that part of the Pacific coast was dotted with the Franciscan missions, each with the name of a Catholic saint. The first coast mission was that of San Diego de Alcalá, founded shortly after the peace treaty; and, following that were established many other missions, each with a village around it named after the mission. Thus, there were the missions, and towns, of San Louis Obispo, San Juan Capistrano, San Gabriel Arcángel, and, as late as 1776, the red town of Yung-Na was used as a site for the mission of Our Lady Queen of the Angels (Nuestra Seňora la Reina de Los Angeles). Still the Franciscans continued establishing new missions, enslaving the tribes as they went along, and herding them into new mission villages, such as San Buenaventura, Santa Barbara, San José, Santa Cruz, and many others. The problem of transporting supplies for all these mission villages became serious, and a road, called El Camino Real (The Royal Road), was built for the purpose. This proving insufficient, the future explorations by the priests were guided by a search for a harbor, especially since they had heard that one had been seen on that coast a century before. San Diego was a good harbor for the southern or older mission towns, but they were already getting too far for even that base. As it had been noticed that no mission had as yet been named for the founder of the Franciscans, it was decided that the harbor, if discovered, should be the site of his mission. The harbor previously seen was missed by these invaders, but another one was reached in 1783, and the mission and its surrounding settlement, as well as the bay, received the name of San Francisco de Assisi.

        Thus were the tribes of "Alta California" (now the State of California) brought into subjugation, and the place within one generation converted into a Spanish colony. The process of enslavement of the tribes was rendered easier by the nature of the country, divided as it was into small valleys with almost no communication between each other. The Californian tribes, separated by narrow mountain passes easily guarded by very few men, remained without intercommunication, and hostile to each other until even their languages became so different that no relation between them was recognizable. Of course, in such a situation, a powerful outside expedition could easily subject the entire region. Lack of communication had also prevented these tribes from advancing either economically, as the Mexican nations had, or socially, as the tribes in the East.

        It is noticeable that, in modern California, a similar situation of intense rivalry between the various valleys had developed, practically paralleling that of the old tribes.

        Louisiana proper, however, was left very much to itself. The "Island of Orleans," a swamp-surrounded region on which New Orleans is located, was Spanish territory, although actually on the east side of the Mississippi River; and Lake Pontchartrain, on the other side of the "Island," was, due to its outlet in the province of West Florida, inaccessible to any but English vessels, so that the Spanish front of the lake had to be strongly fortified. That part of New Orleans is still known as Spanish Fort. French settlements remained undisturbed on the Gulf coast of Louisiana, but almost everything the French had started in the interior was abandoned, and, as the Spanish found it difficult to enslave the red tribes in this region, the tribes were left to control the interior of the Louisiana province. The only interior outpost the Spanish kept was "San Louis," as they called the war-born French town of Saint Louis.

        101. The New Regime in Canada.  Under English rule, Canada was subjected to a heavy influx of newcomers from the English colonies of America, especially from New England. These were called "old subjects," in contrast to the "new subjects," who had just come under England as a result of the war.

        Canada was still under a military regime, although some civil government was being established, and placed largely under the English system of laws, but with adaptations to the French conditions and customs prevailing in Canada. This situation brought complaints from both the "old subjects" and from the "new subjects," the former wishing to have exclusive control of Canada under a completely Anglicized system, and the latter preferring some of their original French institutions. However, the fact that the "old subjects," particularly the New England Yankees, were trying to gain control of the province, disposed England to be more friendly to the "new subjects," the French Canadians; and the tendency was to return the Province of Quebec to the type of French feudal government it had been under before the war. The situation was fast developing into a struggle between England and the American colonies for control over Canada.

        A large number of new emigrants from England filled the new province of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the latter province recently emptied of its population by the expulsion of the Acadians. These people, being recently sent over by Great Britain and given new lands on this side of the ocean, were naturally quite zealously loyal to England, and at the same time served as a counterbalance to the French in the Province of Quebec. These provinces received much the same sort of administration as the middle English colonies, with democratic forms, but largely under the centralized control of a governor appointed from London.

        102. Manufacturing in England and America.  This was the period of the so-called "Industrial Revolution" in England. For about two hundred years attempts had been made to introduce inventions into England, as well as into the rest of Europe, which would simplify the various manufacturing processes; but such attempts had always been opposed because it would put the craftsmen out of work and cause a general condition of destitution. The same objections held in Europe on the Continent, but England now had suddenly acquired immense new territories, and was anxious to ship so many people out to America that the introduction of machinery would simply supply more people willing to emigrate. Factories were established in England under control of individuals, and workers were recruited for them by wholesale dispossession of the farming population, most of whom were turned over to the factories as virtual slaves, while many escaped to America. America was also the refuge of many of the old-time craftsmen who lost their trade through the new machinery.

        In the meantime, America had its own development of manufactures on altogether different lines. The South remained predominantly agricultural; a feudal aristocracy. The middle colonies were agricultural, but engaged in much ocean trading. In New England, however, the land was not suitable for extensive agricultural development. Even trading depended largely on the ingenuity of the population, and some sort of manufacturing was almost a necessity there. The peculiar devices known as Yankee "notions," partly, as we have seen, also a result of Penacook influence, were the answer to this demand, and New England had already come to do a sizable amount of manufacturing on this small scale. The influx of craftsmen from England augmented this noticeably.

        But building and using factories was not enough for England. No competition from America was wanted, and the old laws against manufacturing in America, always a bone of contention between America and England, were now enforced with renewed vigor. This restriction, of course, hit the New England provinces harder than anyone else; while such cities as New York, living almost entirely on transatlantic trade, had everything to gain and nothing whatever to lose by the suppression of Yankee manufactures. In the South, such an issue as the manufacturing question was practically absent, although strict enforcement of the anti-factory laws from England had, at times in the past, made even the South suffer.

        It was, therefore, to be expected that New England would make considerable objection to the enforcement of this internal control from England. This was an opportunity for just such a secret association as the Okamakammessets, who, although no longer a tribe of actual red men, refused to recognize the peace treaty, still considered themselves at war with the colonial and British governments because the Tribe had never been asked to sign the peace. Their function now was to start internal trouble against the existing regime and to work for popular control through institutions. Accordingly, in the issue concerning manufacturing, the Tribe went to work to organize the secret manufacturing according to the Penacook plan of co-operation. A group of sympathizers, the Sons of Liberty, was formed, and they provided various hiding places throughout Massachusetts where craftsmen and other volunteer workers could get together for the purpose of producing various sorts of necessary goods. These secret factories, instead of belonging to individuals as in England, were controlled by those working in them, much on the "town-meeting" plan, while even the Sons of Liberty, which supplied the initial capital, merely supervised the procedure without actually owning the factories. This was about as near to the Penacook plan of co-operation as it was possible to get where money and property were the established institutions.

        Boston itself had one of these factories, a textile goods factory located not far from the Common, on Tremont Street at the corner of Rawson's Lane (now Bromfield Street). Ten miles away, the town of King's Lynn (the original capital of the Saugus tribe), was chosen as a good smuggling port, accessible to three separate harbors at once, and there a factory was established for making shoes; the royal title of the town was dropped, and under the name of Lynn it is now one of the greatest shoe-manufacturing cities in the world. Other factories of this secret and volunteer co-operating type were established away from centers of population, in many cases on the sites of abandoned tribal towns.

        These factories, originating as they did, differed in many ways from the ones being introduced into England. The English factories represented the enslavement of the population, and their submission to a new class of factory owners; while the Massachusetts factories of that period, on the contrary, represented a refuge of the poorer population from the attempted enslavement by England. The factories in England represented the dispossession of the people from the land, while those in Massachusetts represented the people's resistance to dispossession by those who forbade the establishment of the factories. The English factories represented the accession to power of a moneyed class; the Massachusetts factories were in themselves a rebellion against money, and a move by, and for, the poorer elements of the population. The Massachusetts factories gave the English ones competition, not merely by producing goods to compete with English goods, but by opposing institutions belonging to the poor people against the English ones belonging to the rich.

        The Tribe and its affiliates, such as the Sons of Liberty in New England, gradually organized their circle of sympathizers to give American volunteer factory workers a living by buying only their products instead of British goods; and many newspapers helped out the process by frequently printing, as though by way of advertisement, that certain merchants named sold British goods, thereby actually losing trade for them forcing the sale of locally-made goods through the type of concerted action which, some hundred years later, was given the name of boycott.

        103. New Titles in New England.  The Hudson Valley and the South had been under feudal rule for the entire period of their colonization, but this form of government had as yet been seen very little in New England, even where New Hampshire and Maine, which had been started as feudal colonies, rapidly worked themselves out of that status. We have seen that Governor Andros attempted to dispossess the farming population of New England in order to make them serfs to the nobility that he introduced, but this process had not been able to progress very far during his short but infamous reign, and much of what he did in that direction was undone by the Puritan restoration that followed Andros' overthrow.

        After the Great Ohio War, England attempted once more to convert New England into a feudal domain by creating new titles of nobility carrying with them land tenures in America. The land thus given was already occupied, and this meant dispossession or even enslavement of the former occupants, many of whom were actually turned into serfs for the new manorial lords.

        The manors thus granted were frequently quite extensive. Sir William Pepperell, who had been an officer in the war, was given an estate covering the southerly corner of Maine for a distance of about thirty miles along the coast, and about fifty miles inland―almost as much of Maine as the English settled during the seventeenth century. The same officer was given a smaller additional estate in northern Middlesex; and both these estates included more tracts already occupied by numerous Yankees both as towns and as farms. Other similar estates were parcelled out, and the New England farmer had reason to protest against the new policy of the mother country in America.

        104. Collecting for the War.  England felt by this time that America was becoming a rich country, and went about to make America pay for the entire expense of the war, by enforcing and increasing the taxation imposed. This process started as early as 1761, before the war was ended. England not only imposed taxation on America, but resorted to such measures as general search-warrants enabling the British authorities to search entire American towns for smuggling goods.

        Since goods made in New England's new factories, or goods imported from Europe otherwise than through Great Britain, came under the heading of smuggled goods, the merchants of all parts of the American colonies were hard hit. The boycott imposed by the New England factories meant the growth of smuggling rings among the merchants, especially in Boston, but also in the other ports. The merchants naturally protested against these measures, though it was scarcely an important issue to the American population in general.

        This smuggling ring differed further from the factory and farmer rebels of Massachusetts in that they were merely protesters, and had otherwise no direct quarrel with Great Britain, their aim being to settle difficulties by petition or not at all. Besides, since the factories were bringing pressure on the merchants, no sympathy was lost between the two classes. The smuggling ring may have been the noisier group, but the farmers and factory workers were the real rebels in America of that period.


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