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their money swampum), it may be sixpence which is made of the bone of a fish ; the black is with them as gold, the white silver."
This account of the natives, notwithstanding it in some respects, differs from what has been observed by other writers, yet, in general, it serves to establish the most prominent features of their character, already exhibited.
Notwithstanding the many settlements of Europeans in this continent, great part of America remains still unknown. The northern continent contains the British colo. pies of Hudson's Bay, Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia : the United States, viz. Massachusetts, with the district of Maine, New York, New Jersey, New Hamp. shire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Ca. rolina, Georgia, Mississippi Territory, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Northwestern Territory ; Louisiana, including the Island of New Orleans, purchased of the French, to whom it had been ceded by the Spaniards ; it contains also the Spanish territories, of East and West Florida, New Mexico, California, and Mexico; besides these there are immense regions to the west and north, the boundaries of which have never yet been discovered. Such as have in any degree been known, are inhabited by the Esquimaux, the Algonquins, the Iroquois, the Cherokees, the Chickasaws, the Chactaws, the Creeks, and many other tribes of Indians. Vast tracts of the inland parts are unknown, being comprehended under the general name of Amazonia. A large district also, said to be the residence of a gigantic race of men, lies on the east side of the southern continent, between the Straits of Magellan and the province of Paraguay.
This vast country produces, many of the metals, ninerals, plants, fruits, trees, and wood, to be met wit in other parts of the globe, and many of them in greater quantities, and in high perfection. The gold and silver of America have supplied Europe with such large quantites that these precious metals have become so common as to be very nuch diminished in value to what it was before America was discovered : it also produces diamonds pearls, emeralds, amethysts, '&c. which has been work
, largely treated upon in the first volume of this history.
Although the Indians still live in the quiet possession of many large tracts, America, so far as is known, was chiefly claimed by three European nations, and divided into colonies, viz. the Spaniards, English, and Portuguese.
The Spaniards, as they first discovered it, have the largest and richest portion. Next to Spain, the most considerable proprietor was Great Britain, who derived her claim to North America from the first discovery of that continent, by Sebastian Cabot, in the name of Henry the seventh, in the year 1497, about six years after the discovery of South America by Columbus.
This country was in general called Newfoundland until Americus Vespucius, a Florentine, who accompanied Ojeda, a Spanish adventurer on a voyage of discovery : and having drawn up an entertaining history of his voyage, it was published and read with avidity. In his narrative he had the artifice to insinuate, that he was the first who discovered the New World. Many of his readers gave credit to the insinuation, and from him it assumed the name of America. The original name of Newfoundiand is solely appropriated to an island on the north coast. It was a long time before the English made an attempt to settle in this country. Sir Walter Raleigh, an uncommon genius, and a brave commander, first led the way, by planting a colony, and naming it Virginia, in honour of
Queen Elizabeth. I The French, from this period, until the conclusion of
the war in 1763, laid claim to, and actually possessed, Canada, and Louisiana ; comprehending all that extensive country, reaching from Hudson's Bay, on the north, to Mexico, and the gulph of the same name, on the south. But in that war, they were not only driven from Canada, and its dependencies, but obliged to relinquish all that part of Louisiana lying on the east side of the Mississippi. Thus the British colonies were preserved, secured, and extended so far, as to render it difficult to ascertain
the precise bounds of empire in North America. To the Dit northward they might have extended their claims quite
to the pole, nor did any nation shew a disposition to dis1 pute the property of this northern country with them. From that extremity they had a territory extending southward, to Cape Florida in the Gulph of Mexico, in the latitude of 25° north : and consequently near 4000 miles long in a direct line ; and to the westward, their boundaries reached to nations unknown even to the Indians of Canada.
Of the revolution that has since taken place, by which a great part of those territories have been separated from the British empire, and which has given a new face to the western world, an impartial narrative shall be attempted. It will, however, be difficult to avoid some errors ; the accounts from which the historian must derive his information, partake too much of prejudice, and the fabrications of party; and they want that amelioration which time alone can give.
The state of the British colonies, at the conclusion of the war in 1763, was such, as attracted the attention of all the politicians in Europe. At that period their flourishing condition was remarkable, and striking. Their trade had prospered, and extended, notwithstanding the difficul. ties, and distresses of the war. Their population encreased; they abounded with spirited, and enterprizing individuals, of all denominations ; they were elated with the uncommon success that had attended their commercial, and military, transactions. Hence they were ready for every undertaking, and perceived no limits to their hopes and expectations. They entertained the highest opinion of their value and importance, and of the immense benefit that Britain derived from its connexion with them ; their notions were equally high in their own favour. They deemed themselves entitled to every kindness and indulgence which the mother country could bestow. Al. though their pretensions did not amount to perfect equality of advantages and privileges, in matters of commerce, yet in those of government, they thought themselves fully competent to the task of conducting their domestic concerns, without any interference from the pareni state.
Though willing to admit the supremacy of Great Britain, they viewed it with a suspicious eye, and eagerly solicitous to restrain it within its strict constitutional bounds. Their improvements in necessary and useful arts, did
honour to their industry and ingenuity. Though they did not live in the luxuries of Europe, they had all the solid, and substantial enjoyments of life, and were not unacquainted with many of its elegancies and refinements. Notwithstanding their peculiar addiction to those occupations, of which wealth is the sole object, they were duly attentive to promote the liberal sciences; and they have ever since their first foundation, been particularly careful to provide for the education of the rising generation.,
Their vast augmentation of internal trade, and external commerce was not merely owing to their position and faci. lity of communication with other parts; it arose also from their natural turn and temper: full of schemes and projects; ever aiming at new discoveries ; and continually employed in the search of means to improve their condition. This carried them into every quarter, whence profit could be derived. There was scarcely any port of the American hemisphere, to which they had not extended their navigation. They were continually exploring new sources of trade.
To this extensive and continual application to com. merce, they added an equal vigilance in the administration of their affairs at home. The same indefatigable industry was employed in cultivating the soil they possessed, and in the improvement of their domestic circumstances ; that it may be truly said, that they made the most of nature's gifts.
In the midst of this solicitude and toil in matters of business, the affairs of government were conducted with a steadiness, prudence, and lenity, seldom experienced, and never exceeded, in the best regulated countries in Europe. Such was the situation of the British colonies, in general, throughout North America ; and of the New England provinces in particular, at the close of the war in 1763.
In treating of the American revolution, the English writers ascribe that event to the successful intrigues of the French government; they appear willing to search for the origin in any other source than their own misconduct. It has therefore been repeatedly asserted, “that the French having long viewed with envy and apprehension, the flourishing state of the colonies which Britain had founded in America, began immediately after the peace of Paris, to
carry into execution their design of separating the colonies from the mother country. Secret emissaries, it is said, were employed in spreading dissatisfaction among the colonists; and the effects produced by these machinating gpirits, are described to have been a rapid diminution of that warm attachment which the inhabitants of North America had hitherto demonstrated for the mother country." That such emissaries were ever employed, is a fact unsupported by any document which the purity of historical truth can admit ; and, although the effects here described, have certainly appeared, it must be remembered, that their appearance followed, but did not precede, the attempts of Britain upon the rights and liberties of Ame. rica.
That the French should succeed in the arts of intrigue, so far as to alienate the affections of the colonists from the inother country, and at the close of a war, in which their interests and feelings had been interwoven with more than usual strength and energy, was not in any sense probable. But if we trace these effects to another.cause, to a love of liberty, and a quick sense of injury, their appearance will be natural and just ; consistent with the American cha racter, and corresponding with the conduct which was displayed in all the various changes that attended their op, position.
In March, 1764, a bill was passed in the British parliament, by wbich, heavy duties were laid on goods imported by the colonists from such West India islands as did not belong to Great Britain ; and that these duties were to be paid into the exchequer, in specie ; and in the same session another bill was framed, to restrain the currency of paper money in the colonies. Not only the principle of taxation, but the mode of collection was considered as an unconstitutional and oppressive innovation, as the penalties incurred by an infraction of the acts of parliament, were to be recovered in the courts of admiralty, before a single judge (whose salary was to be the fruit of the forfeitures he should decry).
These acts threw the whole continent into a ferment. Vehement remoustrances were made to the ministry, and every argument made use of that reason or ingenuity could suggest, but without any good efiict; their reason