THE war between England and France, though at an end on the continent of America, was still continued among the West India islands, France in this case also being the loser. Martinique, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent's,--every island, in fact, which France possessed among the Caribbees,--passed into the hands of the English. Besides which, being at the same time at war with Spain, England took possession of Havana, the key to the whole trade of the Gulf of Mexico.
In November, 1763, a treaty of peace was signed at Paris, which led to further changes, all being favorable to Britain; whilst Martinique, Guadeloupe, and St. Lucia were restored to France, England took possession of St. Vincent's, Dominica, and Tobago islands, which had hitherto been considered neutral. By the same treaty all the vast territory east of the Mississippi, from its source to the Gulf of Mexico, with the exception of the island of New Orleans, was yielded up to the British; and Spain, in return for Havana, ceded her possession of Florida. Thus, was vested in the British crown, as far as the consent of rival European claimants could give it, the sovereignty of the whole eastern half of North America, from the Gulf of Mexico to Hudson's Bay and the Polar Ocean. By the same treaty the navigation of the Mississippi was free to both nations. France at the same time gave to Spain, as a compensation for her losses in the war, all Louisiana west of the Mississippi, which contained at that time about ten thousand inhabitants, to whom this transfer was very unsatisfactory. ..
The conquest of Canada and the subjection of the Eastern Indians giving security to the colonists of Maine, that province began to expand and flourish. The counties of Cumberland and Lincoln were added to the former single county of York, and settlers began to occupy the lower Kennebec and to extend themselves along the coast towards the Penobscot. Nor was this northern expansion confined alone to Maine; settlers began to occupy both sides of the upper Connecticut, and to advance into new regions beyond the Green Mountains towards Lake Champlain, a beautiful and fertile country which had first become known to the colonists in the late war. Homes were growing up in Vermont. In the same manner population extended westward beyond the Alleghanies as soon as the Indian disturbances were allayed in that direction. The go-ahead principle was ever active in British America. The population of Georgia was beginning to increase greatly, and in 1763 the first newspaper of that colony was published, called the "Georgia Gazette." A vital principle was operating also in the new province of East Florida, now that she ranked among the British possessions. In ten years more was done for the colony than had been done through the whole period of the Spanish occupation. A colony of Greeks settled about this time on the inlet still known as New Smyrna; and a body of settlers from the banks of the Roanoke planted themselves in West Florida, near Baton Rouge.
Nor was this increase confined to the newer provinces: the older ones progressed in the same degree. This is sometimes referred to as the golden age of Virginia, Maryland, and South Carolina, which were increasing in population and productions at a rate unknown before or since. In the North, leisure was found for the cultivation of literature, art, and social refinement. The six colonial colleges were crowded with students; a medical college was established in Pennsylvania, the first in the colonies; and West and Copley, both born in the same year,--the one in New York, the other in Boston,--proved that genius was native to the New World, though the Old afforded richer patronage. Besides all this, the late wars and the growing difficulties with the mother-country had called forth and trained able commanders for the field, and sagacious intellects for the control of the great events which were at hand.
A vast amount of debt, as is always the case with war, was the result of the late contests in America. With peace, the costs of the struggle began to be reckoned. The colonies had lost, by disease or the sword, above thirty thousand men; and their debt amounted to about four million pounds, Massachusetts alone having been reimbursed by Parliament. The popular power had, however, grown in various ways; the colonial Assemblies had resisted the claims of the royal and proprietary governors to the management and irresponsible expenditure of the large sums which were raised for the war, and thus the executive influence became transferred in considerable degree from the governors to the colonial Assemblies. Another and still more dangerous result was the martial spirit which had sprung up, and the discovery of the powerful means which the colonists held in their hands for settling any disputed points of authority and right with the mother-country. The colonies had of late been a military college to her citizens, in which, though they had performed the hardest service and had been extremely offended and annoyed by the superiority assumed by the British officers and their own subordination, yet they had been well trained, and had learned their own power and resources. The conquest of New France, in great measure, cost England her colonies.
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