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N addition to what we have already written of the discovery and fettlement of North America, we shall give a brief history of the kate war with Great Britain, with a fketch of the events which preceded and prepared the way for the revolution. This general view of the history of the United States will ferve as a fuitable introduction to the particular histories of the several states, which will be given in their proper places.

America was originally peopled by uncivilized nations, which lived moftly by hunting and fishing. The Europeans, who firft vifited thefe fhores, treating the natives as wild beafts of the foreft, which have no property in the woods where they roam, planted the ftandard of their respective masters where they first landed, and in their names claimed the country by right of discovery.

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Henry the Seventh of England granted to John Cabot and his three fons a commiffion, "to navigate all parts of the ocean for the purpose of discovering islands, countries, regions, or provinces, either of Gentiles or Infidels, which have been hitherto unknown to all Chriftian people, with power to set up his ftandard, and to take poffeffion of the fame as vaffals of the crown of England." By virtue of this commission, in 1498, 3 E 2 Sebaftian

Sebaftian Cabot explored and took poffeffion of a great part of the North American continent, in the name and on behalf of the king of England.

The country thus difcovered by Cabot, was poffeffed by numerous tribes or nations of people. As these had been till then unknown to all other princes or ftates, they could not poffibly have owed their allegiance or fubjection to any foreign power on earth; they must have therefore been independent communities, and as fuch, capable of acquiring territorial property, in the fame manner as other nations. Of the various principles on which a right to foil has been founded, there is none fuperior to immemorial occupancy. From what time the Aborigines of America had refided therein, or from what place they migrated thither, were questions of doubtful folution, but it was certain that they had long been fole occupants of the country. In this ftate no European prince could derive a title to the foil from difcovery, because that can give a right only to lands and things which either have never been owned or poffeffed, or which, after being owned or poffeffed, have been voluntarily deferted. The right of the Indian nations to the foil in their poffeffion was founded in nature. It was the free and liberal gift of heaven to them, and fuch as no foreigner could rightfully annul. The blinded fuperftition of the times regarded the Deity as the partial God of Chriftians, and not as the common father of faints and savages. The pervading influence of philofophy, reason, and truth, has,fince that period, given us better notions of the rights of mankind, and of the obligations of morality. These unquestionably are not confined to particular modes of faith, but extend univerfally to Jews and Gentiles, to Chriftians and Infidels.

Unfounded, however, as the claims of European Sovereigns to American territories were, they feverally proceeded to act upon them. By tacit confent they adopted as a new law of nations, that the countries which each explored should be the abfolute property of the discoverer. While they thus fported with the rights of unoffending nations, they could not agree in their respective shares of the common spoil. The Portuguese and Spaniards, inflamed by the fame fpirit of national aggrandizement, contended for the exclufive fovereignty of what Columbus had explored. Animated by the rancour of commercial jealoufy, the Dutch and Portuguese fought for the Brazils. Contrary to her genuine interefts, England commenced a war in order that her contraband traders on the Mexican coast, claimed by the king of Spain, might no longer be fearched. No farther back than the middle of the



prefent century, a conteft concerning boundaries of American territory belonging to neither, occafioned a long and bloody war between France

and England.

Though Queen Elizabeth and James the First denied the authority of the Pope of Rome to give away the country of infidels, yet they fo far adopted the fanciful diftinction between the rights of Heathens and the rights of Christians, as to make it the foundation of their refpective grants. They freely gave away what did not belong to them with no other provifo, than that" the territories and districts so granted, be not previously occupied and poffeffed by the fubjects of any other Chriftian prince or state." The firft English patent which was given for the purpofe of colonizing the country difcovered by the Cabots, was granted by Queen Elizabeth to Sir Humphry Gilbert, in 1578, but this proved abortive. In 1584, fhe licenced Walter Raleigh, "to fearch for Heathen lands not inhabited by Christian people," and granted to him in fee all the foil" within two hundred leagues of the places where his people should make their dwellings and abidings." Under his aufpices an inconfiderable colony took poffeffion of a part of the American coaft, which now forms North-Carolina. In honour of the Virgin Queen his fovereign, he gave to the whole country the name of Virginia. Thefe firft fettlers, and feveral others who followed them, were either detroyed by the natives, removed by fucceeding navigators, or died without leaving any behind to tell their melancholy ftory, for they were never more heard of. No permanent fettlement was effected till the reign of James the First.

In the course of little more than a century, was the English NorthAmerican continent peopled and parcelled out into diftinct governments. Little did the wisdom of the two preceding centuries foresee the confequences both good and evil, that were to refult to the old world from difcovering and colonizing the new. When we consider the im I menfe floods of gold and filver which have flowed from it into Europe, the fubfequent increase of industry and population, the prodigious extenfion of commerce, manufactures, and navigation, and the influence of the whole on manners and arts, we fee fuch an accumulation of good, as leads us to rank Columbus among the greatest benefactors of the human race but when we view the injuftice done the natives, the extirpation of many of their numerous nations, whofe names are no more heard ;-The havoc made among the first fettlers ;-The flavery of the Africans, to which America has furnished the temptation; and the many long and bloody wars which it has occafioned, we behold fuch a crowd


of woes, as excites an apprehenfion, that the evil has outweighed the good.

In vain do we look among ancient nations for examples of colonies eftablished on principles of policy, fimilar to thofe of the colonies of Great-Britain. England did not, like the republics of Greece, oblige her fons to form diftant communities in the wiles of the earth. Like Rome she did not give lands as a gratuity to foldiers, who became a military force for the defence of her frontiers. She did not, like Carthage, subdue the neighbouring ftates, in order to acquire an exclufive right to their commerce. No conqueft was ever attempted over the Aborigines of America. Their right to the foil was difregarded, and their country looked upon as wafte, which was open to the occupancy and use of other nations. It was confidered that fettlements might be there formed for the advantage of those who should migrate thither, as well as of the Mother Country. The rights and interests of the native proprietors were, all this time, deemed of no account.

What was the extent of obligations by which colonies planted under thefe circumstances were bound to the Mother Country, is a subject of nice difcuffion. Whether thefe arose from nature and the conftitution, or from compact, is a question neceffarily connected with many others. While the friends of Union contended that the king of England had a property in the foil of America, by virtue of a right derived from prior discovery and that his fubjects, by migrating from one part of his dominions to another, did not leffen their obligations to obey the fupreme power of the nation, it was inferred, that the emigrants to English America continued to owe the fame obedience to the king and parliament, as if they had never quitted the land of their nativity. But if as others contended, the Indians were the only lawful proprietors of the country in which their Creator had placed them, and they fold their right to emigrants who, as men, had a right to leave their native country, and as fubjects, had obtained chartered permiffion to do fo, it follows from these premises, that the obligations of the colonists to their parent state must have refulted more from compact, and the profpect of reciprocal advantage, than from natural obligation. The lat ter opinions feem to have been adopted by feveral of the colonists, particularly in New-England. Sundry perfons of influence in that country always held, that birth was no neceffary caufe of fubjection, for that the subject of any prince or ftate had a natural right to remove to any other ftate or quarter of the globe, especially if deprived of liberty of confcience, and that, upon fuch removal, his fubjection ceased.

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The validity of charters about which the emigrants to America were univerfally anxious, refts upon the fame foundation. If the right of the fovereigns of England to the foil of America was ideal, and contrary to natural justice, and if no one can give what is not his own, their charters were on feveral accounts a nullity. In the eye of reafon and philofophy, they could give no right to American territory. The only validity which fuch grants could have, was, that the grantees had from their fovereign a permiffion to depart from their native country, and negociate with the proprietors for the purchase of the foil, and thereupon to acquire a power of jurifdiction fubject to his crown. Thefe were the opinions of many of the fettlers in New-England. They looked upon their charters as a voluntary compact between their fovereign and themfelves, by which they were bound neither to be fubject to, nor feek protection from any other prince, nor to make any laws repugnant to thofe of England: but did not confider them as inferring an obligation of obedience to a parliament, in which they were unreprefented. The profpects of advantage which the emigrants to America expected from the protection of their native fovereign, and the profpect of aggrandifement which their native fovereign expected from the extenfion of his empire, made the former very folicitous for charters, and the latter very ready to grant them. Neither reafoned clearly on their nature, nor well understood their extent. In less than eight years one thousand five hundred miles of the fea coaft were granted away, and fo little did they who gave, or they who accepted of charters, understand their own tranfactions, that in feveral cafes the fame ground was covered by contradictory grants, and with an abfurdity that can only be palliated by the ignorance of the parties, fome of the grants exended to the South Sea, over a country whofe breadth is yet unknown, and which to this day is unexplored.

Ideal as thefe charters were, they answered a temporary purpose. The Colonifts repofed confidence in them, and were excited to industry on their credit. They alfo deterred European powers from difturbing them, becaufe, agreeable to the late law of nations, relative to the appropriation of newly discovered Heathen countries, they inferred the protection of the fovereign who gave them. They alfo oppofed a barrier to open and grofs encroachments of the mother country on the rights of the colonifts; a particular detail of these is not now necessary. Some general remarks may, nevertheless, be made on the early periods of colonial history, as they caft light on the late revolution. Long before the declaration of independence, several of the colonies on different occafions declared, that they ought not to be taxed but by their own provincial affemblies, and that they confidered fubjection to acts of a British Par


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