xt7ncj87hq1r https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7ncj87hq1r/data/mets.xml Alvord, Clarence Walworth, 1917  books b92977al89v12009 English The Arthur H. Clark Co. : Cleveland, Ohio Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Mississippi River Valley --History --To 1803. Great Britain --Colonies --America. Great Britain --Colonies --Administration. The Mississippi Valley in British politics; a study of the trade, land speculation, and experiments in imperialism culminating in the American revolution, by Clarence Walworth Alvord; with maps ... text The Mississippi Valley in British politics; a study of the trade, land speculation, and experiments in imperialism culminating in the American revolution, by Clarence Walworth Alvord; with maps ... 1917 2009 true xt7ncj87hq1r section xt7ncj87hq1r 



   The Mississippi Valley in British Politics 
   The Mississippi Valley in British Politics





   copyright, I916, by


EDMUND JANES JAMES this volume is gratefully dedicated 

Preface        .        .        .        .        .        . 13

I Government by Factions     .        .        . 19

II The Treaty of Peace, 1763  . . . -45

III The Beginning of western Speculation   .        . 77

IV The earlier western colonial Policy of Great

Britain        ...... 103

V The Choice of the Man     .... 135

VI The Formation of the Policy        .         . 157

VII Proclamation of October 7, 1763    . . .183

VIII The Organization of the Indian Department    . 211

IX The Plans of the Old Whigs        .        .        . 229

X The Chatham Ministry     .... 267

XI Indian Management and western Trade . 287

XII Lord Shelburne's western Policy .        .        . 325 

Western colonial Schemes, i 748-1756 Western colonial Schemes, 1763 . Western colonial Schemes, 1766-1767 

In my humorous moods-for such come even to the most "dry as dust" historians-1 have a vision of some future critic chuckling over my rashness in writing a drama of the pre-revolutionary era with several well known Hamlets omitted. Within these pages the stereotyped narrative of events preceding the American Revolution is not to be found. To seek the material for a history of the period wholly outside that consecrated circle which encloses such important and portentous events as the Boston massacre and the famous tea-party must appear to the general reader to be in itself revolutionary. I confess that to me, whose early impressions of life were received in a small town of Massachusetts, the act sometimes appears one of mild bravado. Yet while I am writing the preface, where surely my imagination may be permitted to take a higher flight than when restrained by the somber chronicling of serious history, let me forget for a moment my critic and boldly assert that whenever the British ministers soberly and seriously discussed the American problem, the vital phase to them was not the disturbances of the "madding crowd" of Boston and New York but the development of that vast transmontane region that was acquired in 1763 by the Treaty of Paris.

Having thus hurled my defiance, let me present my plea for forbearance. My experience in research has been difficult and may be likened to the hardships suffered by the hardy pioneers who first crossed the Appa- 



lachian Mountains and descended to the fertile valleys beyond. They were obliged to find their way through a seemingly limitless wilderness wherein they wandered aimlessly and blindly, their passage so blocked by mountains, rushing streams, and dense underbrush, that only after many attempts did they discover the shortest and most convenient path to the prairie lands of the West. For several years now I have been wandering-and frequently very aimlessly and blindly-in two wildernesses: one was covered by the dense underbrush of British political intrigue, where I found many a path leading only to a cul-de-sac and was so frequently misled that I have despaired at times of ever finding my way out of the darkness and gloom; the other wilderness, no less difficult of penetration, lay in western America and was formed by the actual occurrences -a new and little known country, through whose wooded hills and valleys no traveler has passed, though here and there a short blazed path has assisted my progress. It is not to be expected that I have always followed the best trace, or that I have never pointed out a closed trail for the true road, but it is my hope that the journal of my explorations may assist later discoverers and that in the end the true connection between British politics and the Mississippi Valley may be made known.

Although my point of observation lies on the western prairies, the work is not a history of the West. Rather my eyes have been concentrated on the British ministry in England in the hope of discovering the obscure development of a western policy within the kaleidoscopic changes of ministries and underneath the hot strife of factions, for it has seemed to me to be impossible to understand the British-American policy without a thorough comprehension of British politics during the 


eighteenth century. Too frequently American historians have read back the conditions of the succeeding century in order to explain these politics, and having classified men with their measures as Whig and Tory have rested satisfied. A more careful analysis does not reveal any such division of men and measures, but does reveal a struggle for the flesh pots of Egypt between factions usually Whig in origin, one of them being led by the king who entered the lists in the hope of saving his prerogative.   Of principles there is almost no sign.

Such was the condition in Great Britain when the treaty of peace closing the Seven Years'War was signed at Paris in 1763. Great Britain had won the West and Canada. What was to be done with them? That was the first and last question asked of ministries between the years of the treaty and the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. Every ministry realized that this was the most important of all the American problems, but it was hydra-headed. How could there be a reconciliation between the various interests clamoring for consideration? The Indians' rights must be protected; the claims of various colonies to the West must be considered; the influence of the great land companies of different colonies must not be neglected; there were the fur traders who opposed western colonization; and these latter were supported by British and American speculators in eastern lands who feared the effect of opening the West; and last of all there were the imperial interests to be conserved. To these difficulties lying in the very problem itself must be added the chaotic state of ministries composed of groups of factions each subjected to influences according to its personal interests in colonial affairs.

Successive administrations worked on this problem; 



three distinct plans were developed and partially adopted. The decisions to tax the colonies by the Stamp Act and the Townshend Act were only subordinate parts of these broader policies; but the strife aroused in the colonies and Parliament by these acts of taxation frequently obscured the real issue, even in the eyes of the ministers. The passage of the Quebec Act in 1774 closed the era under consideration with the last definitive step taken towards the settlement of a western policy, and that was brought to naught by the Revolutionary War. The result of the eleven years was nil. These pages contain a history of the development of these plans, a development running parallel with the well known occurrences of the eastern settlements and important for the proper interpretation of their significance, since these plans for the West formed the warp and woof of the British imperial policy.

It must be evident to anyone familiar with the literature of American and British eighteenth century history that the double-headed problem that I have proposed to myself has meant the mastery of an immense mass of printed and unprinted material. A glance at the "Bibliography" at the end of this work will prove that the attempt at such mastery has conscientiously been made; but in spite of the fact that I have worked in the following libraries, the University of Illinois, the Parliamentary of Ottawa, the Canadian Archives, the Boston Athenaeum, and Boston Public, besides freely borrowing books from the Harvard Library, the Library of Congress, and the Carter-Brown Library, there are the names of many books and pamphlets in my notes which it has been impossible for me to examine. The manuscript material has been collected from many sources; the most valuable for this present study has come from 



the Lansdowne Manuscripts, for the use of which I am indebted to the courtesy of the Most Honorable the Marquess of Lansdowne, and from the Dartmouth Manuscripts, copies of which were made for me by the kind permission of the Right Honorable the Earl of Dartmouth. For similar favors I am indebted to the officials of the Canadian Archives, the Public Record Office of London, the New York State Library, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Library of Congress, and other institutions.

In quoting from original and contemporary documents, both printed and manuscript, the publishers have followed, as is their custom, the sensible suggestions adopted "to secure greater uniformity of treatment in the reprinting of such documents," by the American Historical Association. Palpable printers' errors and obvious slips of the pen have been corrected. Changes in punctuation have been made where the original puctuation was erroneous or confused. The overuse of capitals in the original manuscript has been made to conform to modern usage. In every other respect the reprints absolutely follow the originals.

There have been many who have given me suggestions and help in the preparation of this work and to whom I wish to express my gratitude. I am under especial obligations to Hubert Hall, Esq., formerly of the Colonial Office, London, for his untiring search for material. The Right Honorable Lord Edmund Fitz-maurice, Doctor J. Franklin Jameson, and Professor Frederick J. Turner have made valuable suggestions and given other assistance. Dean David Kinley of the Graduate School of the University of Illinois has been unsparing in his efforts to find funds for the copying of manuscripts.   My colleagues, Professor Evarts B. 


Greene and Doctor Theodore C. Pease have read the manuscript and have offered many well considered criticisms. I wish also to express appreciation of valued help given by my secretarial assistants, Mary G. Doherty, Leila O. White, and Ruth E. Hodsdon; by Susan M. Reed in the preparation of the maps; by Lois Reed upon the bibliography; and by my wife, Idress Head Alvord, for patient help and suggestive criticisms during the preparation of the work.

Clarence Walworth Alvord. Urbana, Illinois, February 15, 1916. 

The versatility of courts has been the popular theme of writers during several of the later centuries. It would have been more to the honour of history had the causes of such mutability been explained. - John Almon.

William Pitt leaned impressively forward and asked the representatives of Great Britain anxiously waiting on his every word: "Some are for keeping Canada; some Guadaloupe; who will tell me which I shall be hanged for not keeping?"1 The costly war with France was under discussion; and the speaker, from his intimate knowledge of the House of Commons, understood that he was hurling into the midst of the wrangling factions an issue certain to provoke dissensions. In front of him sat conservatives and progressives, men representing sugar or fur trading merchants, promoters of land companies, imperialists and anti-imperialists, whose personal beliefs and private interests were touched to the quick by the issue raised over the retention of a tropical or northern territory. To understand how this august body of so-called representatives answered Pitt's question and all succeeding questions growing out of their answer is to understand the history of the British colonial empire in the last half of the eighteenth century; but that history can never be interpreted by concentrating the attention exclusively on the colonies. The acts of ministries and Parliament were potent factors in the evolution of America, and the why and

1 Walpole, Memoirs of George III., vol. i, 26. 



wherefore of imperial action can only be discovered by tracing the twistings and turnings of politics in that most complicated period which ended in the independence of the British oversea dependencies; and it is also certain that those baffling kaleidoscopic changes of ministries had a meaning in the colonial backwoods, even though the discovery of that connection prove to be difficult.

Pitt was at the head of the ministry when he shouted his Guadaloupe-Canada dilemma at his colleagues. Three short years were to pass before the option ceased to vex politicians; but in that period two radical changes had taken place in the personnel of the cabinet, and the men who made the choice between the southern and the northern territory, though opponents of Pitt at the time, reached a decision similar to his own. The explanation of this fact is to be sought in the development of factions, in an understanding of their mutual relations, and in the discovery of the attitude of each to the colonial problem-or more generally speaking in a comprehension of British political history.2

Throughout the eighteenth century the tradition of the right of the Whigs to rule was the all-pervading force in British politics. It originated in the Revolution of 1688 and had a second birth in the succession of the Hanoverian dynasty to the throne. So successfully did certain noble Whig families use their opportunity and identify their own interests with those of the new

2 For the substance of this chapter, I wish to acknowledge my indebtedness to the brilliant biography of William Pitt by Doctor Albert von Ruville. Although my own researches were leading me to similar conclusions, before reading this work, the systematic and exhaustive analysis of conditions by Doctor von Ruville has given me the ground on which to base my own study. The same author's William Pitt und Graf Bute was even more helpful on account of the full references and citations from manuscripts to which I had no access. 



dynasty and so exclusively did they secure for themselves the offices of power that Whiggism became a necessary attribute of aspirants for political honors. The tradition became finally so firmly rooted that even a George III. did not dare to defy it; and the eighteenth century came almost to a close before there was selected a cabinet in which a majority of the members did not proudly count themselves within the ranks of the ruling party. Under such conditions the attempt to interpret British political history through an assumed rivalry of Whigs and Tories-so usual among the older historians-only obscures the truth. Such rivalry did not exist. Only after the French Revolution had spread abroad its principles of the rights of man did the people of Great Britain shake off their traditional affiliations and range themselves definitely on the progressive or the conservative side of home and imperial issues. In those years of storm and stress were evolved the modern parties; then the names of Whig and Tory assumed their present meanings. Even during these later days, however, the elderly king and the grey-haired politicians, companions and opponents of younger years, still played the political game as they had learned it in their youth and continued to speak the language of former times. So little did George III. appreciate the great change that, almost on his death-bed, he was still calling himself an Old Whig.3

These old politicians were in many ways more correct in their use of words than are those who attempt to read into the political history of the reign of George III. more modern but inapplicable terms. The party system of government is to-day so common a phenom-

3 Malmesbury, Diaries, vol. iv, 44, quoted in Lewis, Administrations of Great Britain, 96, footnote 2. 



enon that its development in England during the last part of the seventeenth and the first part of the eighteenth centuries has given to British politics of the age a very modern appearance and has superficially justified the employment of modern names to describe the political struggles. This early development was, however, only partial and the growth was arrested for about a generation because the British people did not regard it as a natural and inevitable means of conducting public affairs. Party rule showed only its sinister side to a large number, probably to a majority, of Englishmen and to all Scotchmen. To them its most conspicuous result appeared to be the unsavory manipulation of the borough representation by such skillful politicians as Robert Walpole and the Pelhams for the purpose of exercising complete political power and of subordinating the king to the cabinet. The opponents of this system were desirous of substituting some other method of conducting the government that did not totally submerge one of the concomitant institutions of the constitution and did not place such irresponsible power in the hands of a small plutocracy. Undoubtedly the leaders of the opposition were inspired by the purely selfish wish to occupy the places of authority and to enjoy the emoluments which were held so exclusively by the Whig oligarchy; but nevertheless the widespread dissatisfaction with political conditions gave to their leadership popular authority and caused an opposing theory of government propounded by them to find a ready acceptance.

The dissatisfaction with party government as exemplified by the Whigs gave birth to this new theory of politics and it was formulated about the middle of the eighteenth century into a philosophical system by Lord 



Bolingbroke.4 The principle of the supreme legislative power of the representatives in Parliament, upon which the predominant party had based its tenure of office, had become so well accepted among the people that it must remain a part of any new form of political thought. But the principle of the Tories upon which they had stood until completely crushed by their opponents, namely the right of the king to the leadership under the constitution, seemed to the many as of equally binding force. It was Bolingbroke's purpose in his Idea of a Patriot King to reconcile these two seemingly antagonistic principles. He did this by denying that an antagonism existed. The purpose of the king and representatives, he argued, should be one and the same, the search for the highest good of the nation; and if both had the same aim each would find in the other the necessary complement. Under such a system parties would disappear; the names of Tory and Whig would lose their significance, since differences of opinion would cease to exist. The country as represented in Parliament would find itself in accord with the "Patriot King."

This theory is the opposite to that underlying the party system of government that has developed more recently out of the eighteenth century conditions. The evils of this latter method appeared in an exaggerated form to men with ideas akin to Bolingbroke's; a party is, and must always remain, but a part of the people and naturally views the weal of the state as identical with its own; and so, as Bolingbroke wrote: "The interest of the State becomes ... a remote consideration, is never pursued for its own sake, and is often

* Consult his "Idea of a Patriot King," and "Dissertation upon Parties," in his Works, vol. ii, 372, 375. See also Von Ruville, William Pitt, vol. i, 103-106; vol. iii, 2-10. 



sacrificed to the other."5 Furthermore a party government which should force itself upon the king is the most arbitrary possible, because neither Parliament nor the king can exercise any control over it. On the other hand ministers selected for their worth by the crown are amenable to the discipline of the people's representatives.u In discussing the situation under the Stuarts, Bolingbroke pointed out that when the Whigs changed their system of government from what he called a "broad bottom" to a narrow, from the nation to a party, they forced the court itself to become a faction and to attempt government by a small fraction of the nation.7 In this way the idea of a "Patriot King" was obscured and it became impossible for the monarch to place himself above all parties and hold all alike in check.

The Bolingbroke theory was first the platform of the older Leicester House group that was formed around the person of Frederick, Prince of Wales. This coalition was composed of many incompatible elements from the Whigs and the Tories united by their opposition to the Walpole regime. Among them a most important factor was that band of "Young Patriots" who looked to Lord Cobham as leader and counted in their ranks William Pitt, George Lyttelton, and the Grenvilles-men who were to play important roles in the early years of the reign of George III. Closely associated with these were two other prominent men of the later days, William Murray [Lord Mansfield] and Robert Henley [Lord Northington].8   Bolingbroke's platform for

5 Bolingbroke, "Patriot King," in Works, vol. ii, 402.

0 See "Letter from a Gentleman in Town," in Gentleman's Magazine, vol. xxxiii, 190.

7 Bolingbroke, "Dissertation upon Parties," in Works, vol. ii, 50.

8 Von Ruville, William Pitt, vol. i, 109. 



the "Patriots" was taken very seriously; and, although later events were to separate the enthusiasts and to compel them to fight under many banners, they never completely lost the glamour of their youthful philosophy; and the ideas which were preached by the magnetic Bolingbroke became through his disciples a very potent force in politics.

The fundamental idea which held the "Patriots" together seemed about to bear fruit, when the opposition succeeded in overthrowing Robert Walpole; but in the end the strength and the craft of the allied great families proved to be too great. From that time, however, the number of men opposed to the continuance of the oligarchy in such unlimited power increased. To the forces of the opposition Whigs there were joined in ever increasing numbers the Tories who looked on Pitt in particular as a leader. The death of Pelham in 1754 and the failure of the Cumberland and Newcastle factions to master the crisis of the Seven Years' War raised that popular idol to the leadership in the ministry. Pitt's great day had come; but from his advent must be dated the end, for a generation at least, of party regime in England.9

9 The importance of this fact has not always been noticed by historians who have been more inclined to see in the action of George III. and the Earl of Bute the cause of the break-up of the Whig party. The condition existing in 1760 is sufficient proof of the statement in the text, but the following assertions of keen contemporary observers bring supplementary proofs. William Pitt, in Parliament, May 12, 1762, said: "He was so far from meditating opposition, that he should regard the man who would revive parties as an enemy to his country. Himself had contributed to annihilate party, but it had not been to pave the way for those who only intended to substitute one party for another."-Walpole, Memoirs of George III., vol. i, 130. Horace Walpole wrote of the beginning of the reign of George III.: 'The moment of his accession was fortunate beyond example. The extinction of parties had not waited for, but preceded, the dawn of his reign."     Idem, 4. Walpole also quotes Bamber Gascoyne as stating in Parliament, "By destroying parties we had created factions."-Idem, 91. 



The strife of factions had replaced the supremacy of the Whig oligarchy-the Venetian party as Disraeli called it. A memory of their former glory still lingered for many years in the tradition of the Whigs' right to govern; but the Whigs themselves, after annihilating the Tories by systematically denouncing them as Jacobites, had themselves been shattered on the rocks of political spoils. True parties no longer existed; factions ruled.10 A political condition which Bolingbroke considered the worst possible had been brought upon Great Britain by the greed of the Whig plutocracy, "for faction is to party what the superlative is to the positive; party is a political evil, and faction is the worst of all parties."11

The subsequent contests were rather a struggle for power than the settled animosity of two parties, though the body of Opposition still called itself Whig, an appellation rather dropped than disclaimed by the Court; and though the real Tories still adhered to their old distinctions, while they secretly favoured, sometimes opposed, the Court, and fluctuated according as they esteemed particular chiefs not of their connection, or had the more agreeable opportunity of distressing those who supported the cause of freedom.12

10 See an excellent account of the disappearance of this old distinction in Annual Register, vol. v, 47. In 1770 the historian Gibbon wrote "of those foolish, obsolete, odious words, Whig and Tory," and Lord Shelburne about the same time placed it on record in his papers that in his opinion the Old Whig and Tory parties were extinguished. See Kent, English Radicals, 9. 10.

11 Bolingbroke, "Patriot King," in Works, vol. ii, 401.

12 Walpole chose to date this crisis in 1765, but the description is no less true five or even ten years earlier. Walpole, Memoirs of George HI., vol. ii, 67. No one should use Walpole's Memoirs of George III. as a source of information without a careful study of the analysis of that work by Carl Becker in the American Historical Review, vol. xvi, 255 ff. The Memoirs were written by Walpole in two different periods, 1768-1769 and 1771-1772, and he revised the work, making many additions, in 1775 and again in 1784. Between the writing of the first draft and the latest revision Walpole's political opinions were radically altered, and Mr. Becker proves conclusively by a careful comparison of Walpole's letters with his Memoirs "that the additions, 



No noble principles of reform separated these bands of politicians. Their ideals seldom rose above a greed for office thinly veiled by the profession of public service. A contemporary with a long experience in government wrote at the end of the period under review:

I thought it right to investigate the cause of the disease; and therefore have diligently enquired whether our present dissen-tions have arisen, as formerly, from any differences of opinion, or any contradictory articles in our political creeds; but on the strictest examination, I can find no such differences to exist: parties I see many, but cannot discern one principle amongst them; they are neither Whigs nor Tories, Monarchy-men nor Republicans, High-church nor Low-church, Hanoverians nor Jacobites: they have all acted alternatively on all these principles as they have served a present occasion but have adhered to none of them, nor even pretended to profess them: they have all been ready to support government, whenever they have enjoyed the administration of it; and almost all as ready to subvert it, whenever they were excluded.13

When George III. ascended the throne the conditions seemed favorable for an experiment in the theory of government which had been so joyfully proclaimed by the adherents of his father; but when tried in the realm of practical politics, Bolingbroke's idealism was found to be unworkable. Allegiance to faction was too firmly established and all that could be accomplished was to unite several of the groups for the purpose of conducting the business of state.   Such a ministry was

though not considerable in amount perhaps, modified in an important way the interpretation of the reign of George III." [p. 259]. In the earlier draft Walpole wrote the history of the struggling factions and knew nothing of any danger from the increase of the king's prerogative or from the Tory politicians. All passages containing these latter ideas are generally of the latest revision. Using Mr. Becker's principles of criticism, it is possible to divide the work into its separate parts more completely than he was able to do in the compass of his article.

13 Soame Jenyns, "A Scheme for the Coalition of Parties," written in 1782, in Works, vol. ii, 251. 



called "broad bottom" and was supposed to differ from the narrower basis of the former Whig party system; but the "broad bottom" government in no way fulfilled the conditions of Bolingbroke's ideal. He had dreamed of an administration representing the people and working in harmony with the king for the supposedly discoverable public good; this was a league of more or less hostile factions, always suspicious of each other, held together by the love of office, and generally working for their selfish interests.

To enter the arena where fought these hungry followers of factions in search of the causes of events in the heart of western America may appear a futile task. Yet above the snarls of this greedy crowd of place hunters and sinecurists can be heard the principles which were formulated for the guidance of the men who governed the wilderness. These principles embodied a political philosophy of colonization, varying in each faction, and the discovery of the beliefs of the different groups is the only means of knowing what was the predominant opinion in each composite cabinet.

In the eyes of historians generally the most important and dignified group of politicians has been that of the Old Whigs, whose very name connected them with the events of the "Glorious Revolution of 1688" and seemed to point to them as the fathers of the progressive Whigs of the nineteenth century. In traditional rights and in family connections there is no doubt about their superiority to their rivals; and after emerging from the struggle over Robert Walpole, the Old Whigs had succeeded also in retaining that popular support that attaches itself so unquestionably to affiliations of long standing. The glamour that enfolds them has been intensified by the accident that their official spokesman, 



Edmund Burke, proved himself to be one of the ablest of the eighteenth century men of letters; and, as a result, the pamphlets he penned in defense of his faction have been widely read, and the Old Whigs' interpretation of events and their claim of representing the policies of the former Whig party of revolutionary days have come to be popularly accepted.14

Although it was generally conceded that this particular group was the strongest, yet its councils were always divided, for, as a contemporary wrote, it "may more aptly be compared to an alliance of different clans, fighting in the same cause, professing the same principles, but influenced and guided by their different chieftains."15 In the disintegration of the party system, the Old Whigs had suffered most severely. Some members, who refused absolutely to act longer with their former associates, set up new factions, others joined themselves to rival leaders, but the greatest defection was to the court. It was from the Old Whigs that there came the loudest complaints of the evils of their time, when households were politically separated and traditional associations were broken up; and they were only too ready to lay the blame on their opponents rather than on the past conditions for which they themselves had been responsible.

11 Another classical writer, Horace Walpole, although not a member of the faction, became