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It cannot be denied that with America and in America a new era commences in human affairs."--DANIEL WEBSTER.
PERMANENT ENGLISH AND FRENCH SETTLEMENTS1
THE THIRTEEN COLONIES • FRENCH EXPLORATION OF THE WEST • WARS WITH THE INDIANS AND WITH THE FRENCH • COLONIAL LIFE GENERAL VIEW OF THE COLONIES (1607-1763)
I. VIRGINIA, 1607
43. The desire to go to Virginia; King James I grants a charter. At the beginning of the seventeenth century work was hard to find in England. This caused much distress, and thousands who were out of employment naturally turned their eyes toward America. Many felt that Virginia (§ 28) stood like an open door inviting them to settle in the New World.
1 Reference Books. (1st, The Thirteen Colonies.) R. G. Thwaites' "Colonies," ch. 4-10, 13; W. C. Bryant and Gay's "United States" (revised edition), I, ch. 11-21; II, ch. 1-19; G. Bancroft's "United States" (revised edition), I, Part 1, ch. 6-19, Part II, ch. 1-19; II, Part III, ch. 1-4, 15-16; R. Hildreth's "United States," 1, ch. 3-15; II, ch. 16-24; A. B. Hart's "Source Book," ch. 3-5, 7-8; A. B. Hart's "American History by Contemporaries," I, ch. 6, 8, 10-26; II, ch. 3-16; L. G. Tyler's "England in America," ch. 3-19; C. M. Andrews'" Colonial Self-Government," ch. 1-19; E. B. Greene's "Provincial America," ch. 1, 15-18
(2d, The French Exploration of the West.) Bryant and Gay (above), II, ch. 21; F. Parkman's "Discovery of the Great West," ch. 5-20; R. G. Thwaites' "France in America," ch. 4; Hart's "Source Book" (above), p. 96; Hart's Contemporaries (above), 1, 136, 140.
(3d, The French and Indian Wars.) Thwaites' "Colonies" (above), pp. 254-257, 277-278; A. B. Hart's "Formation of the Union," pp. 23-41; F. Parkman's "A Half-Century of Conflict," 11, ch. 18-20; F. Parkman's "Montcalm and Wolfe," II, ch. 24-25, 27-28; Hart's Contemporaries (above), II, ch. 19-20.
(4th, The Colonies in 1763.) G. C. Eggleston's "Life in the Eighteenth Century," ch. 13, 17, 19-21; E. Eggleston's "American Colonists," in the Century Magazine, March and May, 1883, January, June, and October, 1884, and April and July, 1885; J. Schouler's "Americans of 1776." See also the classified List of Books in the Appendix.
PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY AND HISTORY
See Winsor's "America," IV, i-xxx; Shaler's "United States," and "Our Continent";
Farrand's "Basis of American History"; Semple's "American History and its
The physical geography of the United States has had and must continue to have a powerful influence, not only on the health and industry but on the character and progress of the American people.
I. The English colonies were planted on rivers or harbors which invited settlement and favored their commercial intercourse with the mother country, with the West Indies, and with each other.
II. The Appalachian range barred the West against the colonists and confined them to a long, narrow strip bordering on the sea. This limitation of soil had important effects on the occupations and the exports of the settlers, while it encouraged the development of union, political strength, and independence.
III. The Canadian French, on the other hand, having control of the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes, soon got temporary possession of the Mississippi Valley. This led to a war which ended by giving the West to the English colonists.
IV. The first English-speaking settlements made west of the Alleghenies were planted on streams flowing into the Mississippi, -- a river system 35,000 miles in extent, watering the great central valley of the continent. Later, the steamboat made that vast region accessible in all directions.
V. After the colonies secured their independence, the boundaries of the American Republic were fixed by successive treaties. These boundaries were determined, to a great extent, by (1) coast lines; (2) rivers and lakes; (3) watersheds; (4) mountain ranges. In 1783 our possessions bordered upon the Atlantic only; in 1803 they touched the Gulf of Mexico; in 1846 they reached the Pacific (see "Table of Boundaries").
VI. The most pressing question with every rapidly growing people is that of food supply. Some nations of Europe -- notably Great Britain -- can only feed themselves by importing provisions. America is so fortunate in soil, climate, and extent of territory, that the people produce not only all the breadstuffs and meats they require, but they have an immense surplus for exportation.
VII. Next in importance to grain and meats are cotton, wool, timber, coal, petroleum, iron, copper, and the precious metals. These products are powerful factors in the development of modern civilization, and it is believed that no continent is richer in them than our own.
VIII. While cotton fastened slavery on the South, the abundant water power of New England gave the first impulse to American cotton manufacturing. On the other hand, the western prairies stimulated agriculture and immigration, and encouraged the building of railways, which in twenty years did more to open up the country than two centuries had done before. Again, physical geography has influenced legislation respecting labor, the tariff, trade, currency, and the building of roads and canals; furthermore, it determined decisive military movements in the Revolution (see Washington's retreat across the Delaware, § 173) and the Civil War (see §§ 334, 335, 336).
IX. Experience proves that the physical conditions of the United States favor health, vigor, and longevity. Statistics show that in size and weight the American people are fully equal, if not, indeed, superior, to Europeans, while their average length of life appears to be somewhat greater (see Rhodes's "United States," III, 73, 74).
X. The conclusion of eminent scientists is that no part of the globe is better suited to the requirements of one of the master races of the world than the United States, and such statesmen as Lincoln and Gladstone have declared their belief that this country has a natural base for the greatest continuous empire ever established by man.
From Frye's Complete Geography by permission of Alex E. Frye
PHYSICAL FEATURES OF THE UNITED STATES
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
Virginia was a country of vast extent. It stretched northward from Cape Fear to the middle of Nova Scotia, -- a distance of a thousand miles; westward it reached to the Pacific.
King James I granted a charter authorizing two trading companies in England to send out emigrants. The London Company bad the right to plant a colony in the southern part of Virginia, while the Plymouth Company had power to plant one in the northern part, but it never succeeded in doing so. (Map, p. 51.)
Both companies were full of great expectations. They hoped to find mines of gold and silver in the Virginia woods, or, if they failed in that, to find a water passage through the country to the Pacific, the Indies, and the Spice Islands (§ 14).
44. Government of the Virginia Colonies. The royal charter provided that each colony should be governed by a council in Virginia, which was subject to a council in England under control of the King.
The most important article in the charter was that in which the King declared that the settlers in Virginia should enjoy all the rights and privileges possessed by the people living in England. This article he repeated in many other colonial charters. We ought to bear in mind that the English sovereign was the only one in Europe who would grant such an advantage as that to those who left their homes to go to America.
Many additional instructions were given, among them were four which required:
1. That the colonists should establish the Church of England as the only form of worship.
2. That for five years no land should be granted to any settler, but all were to deposit the products of their labor in the Company's warehouses, from which they would receive necessary supplies of provisions and clothing.
3. The colonists were expected to carefully explore all the rivers near them to see if they could find a short and easy way by which vessels might get to the Pacific Ocean.
4. The colonists were ordered to take pickaxes with them to dig for precious metals.
45. The London Company's Colony sails; Captain John Smith. The London Company (§ 43) soon sent out emigrants. Very few of them were fit to struggle with the rough life of the American wilderness. The majority had no intention of remaining. They expected to pick up fortunes and then go back to England to spend them.
Luckily there was a young man of decided ability among them. This was Captain John Smith. His energy and courage saved the emigrants from starvation.
46. The Emigrants settle Jamestown, Virginia, 1607; Condition of the Colony. The expedition reached the American coast in the spring of 1607. The colonists numbered 104; all were men. They sailed up a river of Virginia, which they named the James River, in honor of the King; for the same reason they named the settlement which they began (May 13) on a peninsula (now an island) on that river, Jamestown.
But although the royal charter gave the settlers the same rights in America which they had enjoyed in England (§ 44), yet they did not receive them at once. At home many of them had the power to vote and to take part in making the laws by which they were governed; in the Virginia forests they could do neither.
But we shall see that some years later the colonists obtained all the rights which the King had promised them (§ 51).
Next, they owned no land, and the work of their hands did not belong to them. In this last respect they were worse off than the poorest day laborer they had left behind them. Furthermore, the idle man was certain that he would not suffer, for he could draw provisions out of the common storehouse; the industrious man, on the other hand, knew that by the sweat of his toil he must feed the idle. Yet we should never forget that, in spite of all these drawbacks, this little band of men laid the first foundation stone of the American Republic. Three hundred years later (1907) we celebrated that landing at Jamestown, and the great nations of the world sent war ships to join us in that celebration.
47. Sufferings of the Colonists; Search for the Pacific; Pocahontas. The new settlers built a small fort as a defense against
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
the Indians. Then instead of building houses they made themselves some rude shelters out of branches of trees or old sails.
Soon many fell sick, and by autumn half of the colonists had died. When the cool weather set in matters began to improve, and the men put up some log cabins for themselves. Later, they urged Captain Smith to lead an exploring expedition to find the Pacific Ocean (§§ 43, 44). They set out in high spirits, supposing that, at that point, the country was less than 200 miles across from the Atlantic to the Pacific!
In the course of the exploration Smith was captured by the Indians, and taken to their chief, Powhatan. The chief was "a tall,
BUILDING THE FORT AT JAMESTOWN
sour-looking old man"; he ordered his warriors to knock Smith's brains out. According to the captain's account, he was saved by Pocahontas, the chief's youthful daughter, who ran up, just as the club was raised, and put her arms around the prisoner's head.1
Some years afterward, John Rolfe, a Virginia colonist, became interested in Pocahontas. He labored to convert that tender-hearted heathen and make a Christian of her. While engaged in this agreeable work he fell in love with her and married her. The marriage made Powhatan the firm friend of the colony at a time when it needed all the friends it could get.
1 Up to 1860 the truth of the Pocahontas story had never been questioned; but certain inconsistencies in Smith's account of the affair led the late Mr. Charles Deane to deny its authenticity; see Winsor's "America," III, 161. For a defense of Smith's account, see Professor Arber's edition of Smith's works, and his article in the Encyclopœdia Britannica on "John Smith"; also John Fiske's article in the Atlantic Monthly, December, 1895.
THE FRENCH SETTLE IN CANADA
48. Gold? the French settle in Canada (1608); the Colony's Debt to Smith; the Colonists set out to leave Jamestown. Not long after Smith's adventure with the Indians, one of the settlers found a yellowish substance which some said was gold. Smith called it "rubbish," and declared that the American cod fisheries would be worth more to the English people than any gold mine. But the colonists loaded a vessel with the "gilded dust " and sent it home. The stuff turned out to be that worthless kind of glittering iron ore popularly known as "fool's gold."
In the summer of that year (1605) an event occurred destined to have important results. Champlain, a famous French explorer, sailed up the St. Lawrence to Quebec, and there established the first permanent French colony in America. It was the feeble beginning of a rival power which was one day to dispute the right of the English to possess any part of the country.
Shortly after this date Smith was chosen governor of the colony. He made a rule that no one should stand idle. Under him those who tried to live without working soon found that they must also try that harder thing -- to live without eating. But the Captain's term of office was short, for he met with a fearful accident that made it necessary for him to return to England. He never revisited the colony.
After he had gone, the Indians began depredations. Everything went to rack and ruin. Sickness and famine set in. In six months only sixty persons were left out of five hundred. A ship came, bringing more colonists and some supplies; but matters looked so discouraging that the settlers resolved to abandon the country and go back to England.
49. Lord Delaware; Governor Dale; the Great Land Reform. Lord Delaware, the new governor sent out from London, met them as they were leaving Jamestown, and compelled them to turn back. He had the power of ruling by military law, and could hang a man without a jury to decide his guilt.
Lord Delaware was succeeded by Governor Dale. He was a stern old soldier, determined to preserve order. If a colonist talked against his regulations, the Governor bored a hole through his