Il The Struggle For Expansion
french english mississippi
IL THE STRUGGLE FOR EXPANSION : 1750-63.
The English settlements along the Atlantic had covered the narrow strip of coast territory quite thoroughly before it was possible to think of expansion westward. Since about 1605 Canada had been undisputedly in the The hands of the French. Their traders and missionaries had French in entered the present western United States ; Marquette and cairdatdhl Joliet (1673) and La Salle (1682) had explored the upper west. Mississippi river, and others, following their track, had explored most of the Mississippi valley and had built forts in various parts of it. About 1700 the French opened ground at the mouth of the Mississippi; D'Iberville (1702) founded Mobile and the French Mississippi Company (1718) founded the city of New Orleans. Consistent design, foiled at last only by failure of material, marks the proceedings of the French commanders in America for the next thirty years. New Orleans and Quebec were the extremities of a line of well-placed forts which were to secure the whole Mississippi valley, and to confine the English settlements for ever to the strip of land along the coast bounded on the west by the Appalachian or Alleghany range of mountains, which is parallel to the coast and has but one important break in its barrier, the opening through which the Hudson river flows. The practical genius of the French plans is shown by the fact that so many of these old forts have since become the sites of great and flourishing western cities : Natchez, Vincennes, Peoria, Fort Wayne, Toledo, Detroit, Ogdensburgh, and Montreal either are built on or are so near to the old forts as to testify to the skill and foresight against which the English colonies had to contend. To this whole territory, extending from the mouth of the Mississippi to that of the St Lawrencd, covering even the western part of the present State of New York, the name of New France was given. The English possessions, extending in hardly any place more than a hundred miles from the ocean, except where the Dutch had long ago planted the outpost of Fort Orange, or Albany, on the upper Hudson, were generally restricted to the immediate neighbourhood of the coast, to which the early population had naturally clung as its base of supplies.
Weak- 26. The French difficulties were even greater than those system. their first great impetus. Even where the French settled they showed more of a disposition to coalesce with the native population than to form a homogeneous people. The French were commonly far stronger with the Indians than were the English ; but, at the end of a hundred and fifty years, when the English colonists numbered a million and a quarter, all animated by the same political purposes, the population of all New France was only about 100,000, and it is doubtful whether there were 7500 in the whole Mississippi valley. The whole French system, wisely as it was designed, was subject to constant and fatal interference from a corrupt court. Its own organization was hampered by attempts to introduce the feudal features of home social life. A way was thus opened to exactions from every agent of the court, to which the people submitted with hereditary patience, but which were fatal to all healthy development. Perhaps worst of all was the natural and inevitable formation of the French line of claims. Trending westward from Quebec to meet the northward line of forts from New Orleans, it was bent at the junction of the two parts, about Detroit, and its most important part lay right athwart the path of advancing English migration. The English wave was thus to strike the weaker French line in flank and at its weakest point, so that the final issue could not in any event have been doubtful. The French and Indian war probably only hastened the result.
Inter- 27. There had been wars between the French and the colonial English colonies since the accession of William and Mary,