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The English American Colonies, New Spain, and New France

Throughout the 16th, 17th and first three quarters of the 18th centuries many free, indentured, and slave emigrants from Europe and Africa settled in the New World of North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.  

They came for many reasons from many regions, monarchies, kingdoms, and city-states, speaking many languages and dialects. And the desire for religious, political and economic freedoms were high on the list of reasons for many of the "white" Europeans settling in what became the 15 British Colonies by 1774 when their delegates gathered in the "First American Congress of the English Colonies."

(By then there were also French and Spanish colonies in the Americas).

The economic disagreements between the 15 American English Colonies and the British Parliament and Crown had began a decade before with the Treaty of Paris in 2/10/1763; and were aggravated by the Royal Proclamation 10/7/63, Currency Act 4/19/64, Sugar Act 9/29/64, Stamp Act 3/22/65, Quartering Act 5/15/65, Declatory Act 3/18/66, and the Townshend Act 11/20/67.

Those were the laws, rules and regulations in trade and commerce which forced the distribution and redistribution of wealth (commercial and agricultural profits) through defined channels - away from individuals in the British Colonies in North America, to the Crown and to individuals in Great Britain, and to individuals in other Crown Colonies.   

The British government (Parliament and the King) was unjustly redistributing wealth to a selected few with its laws - not justly regulating its redistribution so that economic happiness could be freely pursued by all.

Frustrations grew and individuals in the various Colonies began to agitate, the Circular Letter to the Governors in America made its rounds; merchants were organizing and making what today we would call "union" boycott agreements (e.g., the Boston Non-Importation Agreement 8/1/68, the Charleston Non-Importation Agreement 7/22/69.  

The Colonial legislatures and assemblies began making individual Declarations of detailed economic, religious and civil rights.

Until the final straw, the Quartering Act of 6/2/74, which precipitated on 10/14/74 the gathering of the "First Continental Congress of the American English Colonies," which outlined the economic grievances.

As we know the British Parliament and King would not compromise, which led to the Declaration of Independence and Revolutionary War, but as late as 1775 that decision had not yet been agreed to by the American British Colonies, as per "We have not raised armies with ambitious designs of separating from Great-Britain, and establishing independent states".

Click "Articles of Association" at: for source documents.

Simultaneously there was much happening in New Spain, the Spanish Colonies, including the 16th Colony of Florida. To understand America we must also understand that history.


Economic Problems of Florida Governors, 1700-1763

By John J. Tepaske
Edited and Published by Mike Gold,

Part 1 of 4

Many problems plagued the eighteenth-century Florida governor, but none vexed him more than the economic plight of his settlement. Florida was a poverty-stricken military outpost of the Spanish Empire on the northeastern fringe of New Spain.

It was unable to sustain itself with mining or agricultural enterprises and was wholly dependent upon outside aid for its existence. Want, misery, and destitution were the lot of the soldiers and their families living in this unpopular community. Securing money and supplies for them was the governor's greatest single responsibility; no colonial question received his more devoted attention.


Sole means of support for Florida came from an annual subsidy which before 1702 was paid from the royal treasury in Mexico City. Each year the governor of Florida and his principal military, religious, and political advisers chose an agent to go to New Spain for collection of this subvention. This agent presented the governor's certified statements of the needs of Florida and bargained with the viceroy for the money and supplies required by its residents. What he obtained was then carried overland to Vera Cruz and put on ships bound for Havana, Cuba. From here the specie and goods were trans-shipped to Saint Augustine and distributed among the garrison there.

The number of soldiers and royal officials actually serving in Florida determined the annual grant; by 1700 approximately 350 soldiers, their families, and a few royal officials close to 1,600 people, demanded almost 81,000 pesos a year. Theoretically this subsidy was adequate to maintain Florida had it been properly administered, but in practice many evils cropped up.

The viceroy found it profitable to delay payment, often for several consecutive years. He simply turned his back on the governor's agent until the Florida province absolutely demanded assistance to survive. The august ruler of New Spain then remitted only what was necessary to keep the Saint Augustine garrison alive temporarily while his huge debt to Florida for past subsidies continued to grow. In 1703 this debt amounted to 456,959 pesos.

The complaints and entreaties of the Florida governor did little to eliminate the troublesome delays. Lack of ships in Vera Cruz to carry the subsidy to Florida, lack of exact information on the number of men actually serving there, and lack of money in his own bailiwick to pay the subvention were the viceroy's principal excuses.

A second abuse developed from these dilatory payments. The inadequacy of the Florida food supply, caused by the viceroy's procrastination, ultimately forced the governor of Florida to buy goods in Cuba on credit at high rates of interest.

Thus when the subsidy was finally released, what little remained in hard money after purchase of supplies in New Spain was quickly gobbled up by usurious Havana merchants. Additional delays in payment then began the same cycle over again. Had the subsidy been remitted regularly, the governor could have avoided these exorbitant interest payments and used the money for the needs of the colony.

Price and quality of supplies furnished to Florida with money from the annual subsidy were other facets of the same problem.

The governor needed specie badly. If his agent could buy supplies at a low price, more money remained to meet his other obligations. Unfortunately, the Florida agent made few bargains. The viceroy, probably in collusion with merchants in Mexico City, bought food for the governor's representative at outlandish prices, even for inflation-ridden New Spain. In many instances foodstuffs were of inferior quality, and it was not uncommon to find wormy flour and rancid pork among the items destined for Florida.

If these supplies were not contaminated at the time of purchase, a few months on the damp wharves of Vera Cruz considerably abetted the moldering process.

The exorbitant cost of the journey by land from Mexico City to the Gulf and by sea from Vera Cruz to Saint Augustine drained still more pesos from the subsidy and added to the governor's economic woes.


In 1702 the persistent complaints of the governor of Florida finally brought about a change in the subsidy system. In March, Philip V ordered that the annual Florida grant be paid from the sales taxes of Puebla de los Angeles, situated southeast of Mexico City on the road to Vera Cruz.

Responsibility for the subsidy was taken out of the viceroy's hands and given to the Bishop of Puebla, who had to disburse the money and buy supplies requested by the governor's agent. Half of every subsidy had to be in specie.

To avoid the old delays, the king ordered the Florida agent to spend no more than six months in Puebla carrying out his charge. Arrangements were also made to remit annually twenty-five percent in specie over and above the regular subsidy to retire debts owed from past subsidies.

Several advantages apparently accrued to Florida as a result of the change. Since the annual income from the Puebla excise taxes was almost 140,000 pesos and the Florida subsidy was only 80,000 pesos, there was now a reliable source of income to provide the subvention.

Prices of supplies were purportedly lower in Puebla than in Mexico City, and the journey to Vera Cruz was shorter and less costly. Perhaps too, there was hope that a dedicated religious official would administer the subsidy more equitably than the viceroy had done in the past.

Once the new system was finally established in 1708, it was at least a temporary success. For a few years, ships carrying the Puebla subsidy entered Saint Augustine inlet bringing the Florida colony its yearly quota of money and food.

Between 1707 and 1716, 912,290 pesos in specie and supplies left New Spain for Florida.

The twenty-five percent payments, in addition to the regular subsidy, retired the governor's old obligations to his soldiers and to Cuban merchants and eliminated a part of the old debt for past subsidies. In 1709 this debt amounted to 273,479 pesos - five years later it had been cut to 211,290 pesos.

To be Continued:

New France and Great Britain's 7 Year War.

Part 2 of 4
By John J. Tepaske
Published by Mike Gold


But the picture soon changed. Delivery of the subsidy was still irregular and a source of real trial to the governor and his hard-pressed colonists. In the spring of 1712, English capture of a supply ship bound for Florida made cats, horses, and dogs, real delicacies at Saint Augustine supper tables.

At the same time these conditions enabled the second-in-command of the Florida presidio, Don Juan de Ayala Escobar, to exploit the residents of the colony. He illegally procured several boatloads of food from the English in South Carolina and sold them to the people of Saint Augustine. Desperate for food and tired of their domestic animal fare, the hungry soldiers flocked to Ayala's shop and bought his high-priced meat and flour with what little they had saved or on credit against their future salaries.

It was a sordid affair, which the governor was powerless to handle. One pound of Don Juan's maize cost one real; in Havana one real could buy over one and one-half bushels of the same commodity. Meat priced at nineteen pesos in Florida brought only two pesos in Cuba.

When Governor Francisco de Corcoles y Martinez attempted to arrest his avaricious second-in­command, the entire garrison threatened to mutiny. In a dramatic scene in the public square of Saint Augustine, the governor prudently backed down and, to the approving cries of the assembled residents, exonerated Don Juan.

Ayala had kept them alive and they meant to show their appreciation. After all, the governor had done little to help them. In Puebla the governor's agent soon began to experience difficulties, also. Long delays made a farce of the order requiring him to conduct his business within six months; shortages in payment of the subsidy also became common.

Don Joseph Benedit Horruitiner, dispatched to New Spain in 1712, was unable to secure the full amount due him because of other warrants on the sales taxes which had drained the Puebla treasury. To make up for this shortage of over 13,000 pesos, the bishop's agents saddled Horruitiner with this amount in fine china, silk, and woolen cloth. Their pledge was a lie. He could not unload these dainties on unreceptive Vera Cruz merchants and returned to Saint Augustine with the unwanted dishes and cloth.

For his part Governor Francisco de Corcoles y Martinez was outraged and threw poor Don Joseph into prison for dereliction of duty. From all reports he was not a model prisoner and died later while his case was being considered by the Council of the Indies in Spain.

It did not take long for other abuses to reappear. In 1716 and 1717, a delay of twenty-one months in remitting the subsidy cut the daily ration to less than two pounds of flour - this for soldiers with large families.

The bad condition of food bought in Puebla and its high cost also became a common gubernatorial complaint. In 1735 Governor Francisco del Moral Sanchez pointed out that merchants in Puebla made a fifty percent profit on all goods shipped to Florida. Ordinarily six bushels of wheat cost eight pesos, but the special price for his Florida garrison was twelve pesos.

The next year the English capture of the subsidy ship carrying 97,000 pesos in money and supplies, added still more to Moral's financial troubles. In what he imagined to be a discreet move, however, he paid his soldiers in rum. If he was unable to relieve their hunger, he at least hoped to make them forget it temporarily. In that, his method proved highly unsuccessful.


Throughout the early part of the eighteenth century, different governors of Florida offered various solutions to the economic problems of their colony and presented reforms for the subsidy system.
In 1715 Governor Corcoles suggested that two hundred Galician families be sent from Spain to Florida to farm the rich land near Apalache. Foodstuffs ordinarily purchased in New Spain or Cuba could thus be grown within the colony and relieve the garrison of its perpetual supply problem.

This plan obtained ready acceptance from all but the poor Galicians, who refused the crown's offer of free passage to Florida and of aid in money, seed, and implements once they arrived. They protested to the captain general in Galicia that if they were to die of hunger, they would rather starve in Spain than in Saint Augustine.

A later effort to bring families from the Canary Islands proved more successful. Between 1757 and 1761, over seven hundred islanders migrated to Florida to aid in developing the country agriculturally. For the most part, however, they were a troublemaking group without real farming experience. Their only real contribution was in aiding Governor Alonso Fernandez de Heredia in the establishment of a naval stores industry.

This enterprise, which gained impetus about 1757, had a bright future, but the Spaniards left Florida in 1763 before they could obtain any real results.

Immigration, aimed at making the Florida colony less dependent upon the subsidy, was a move toward self-sustenance, a basic reform. But other suggestions from the governor worked toward correction of the lesser evils of the subsidy system.

(To be Continued)

                     ==== SIDEBAR ====

While the military colony of St. Augustine in New Spain was trying to survive in order to protect the Gulf Stream and Spanish sea routes  between the New World and Spain, and attain some level of agricultural self-sufficiency, France and Great Britain were competing for land, trading posts, forts, and political and economy expansion of power north of the Spanish colonies. (Not only Florida, but also present-day Mexico, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, and California constituted New Spain).

The French and the English colonists made alliances with native American Indian tribes, while simultaneously alienating other tribes. Both France and Great Britain (specifically the English colony of Virginia) claimed the north Ohio Valley, with the Mingoe tribe allied with the French and the Iroquois Confederation allied with the Brits.

The French built a series of forts and tradng posts from Lake Erie to the Ohio River fork (present day Pittsburgh), and the English Virginia Lt. Governor Dimwiddie sent Major George Washington of the VA militia to make the British claim for the Ohio Valley territory.

Skirmishes began in May 1754, and on July 3, 1754 Washington withdrew his troops to Virginia. Dinwiddie than appealed to London, and King George II sent General Braddock and an army to the English Colonies.

Once the news was published, France escalated their troop deployment to New France, and the Seven Years War was about to begin. It is called the French and Indian War by American historians.

France on one side, with their allies the French North American colonists and several Native American Indian tribes. New France extended from the Appalachia Mountains west, and from Louisiana in the south through the Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes to Canada in the north.

Great Britain on the other side, with the polyglot Anglo-European colonists and the Native American Iroquois Confederation as allies on the other side. Great Britain controlled the English colonies from the Atlantic Ocean to the Appalachian Mountains, with the southern border New Spain (Florida), and New France (Canada) in the north.

There was no talk in the English colonies of breaking away from Great Britain during these years prior to 1863, although there had been local- and Crown-initiated efforts to convince the colonies to join together into a political and economic confederation.

During the first half of the 18th century colonial officials and intellectuals had published a number of tentative plans for centralizing the colonial governments of the English Colonies in North America.

The British Parliament, the King, and the Empire's bureaucrats supported this idea as they saw the advantages of bringing the colonies under narrower authority and supervision (with the colonists seeing the need to organize for common interests.

The colonial governments were then ordered to meet in 1754 (the Albany Congress) because each colony had been making conflicting treaties with different tribes of the Iroquois Confederation.

Benjamin Franklin had previously written to friends and colleagues proposing a plan of voluntary union for the colonies. His newspaper, the "Pennsylvania Gazette," published the political cartoon "Join or Die," by comparing the colonies to pieces of a snake's body. Franklin's idea was for the uniting of the colonies by Act of the British Parliament.

Thus the Albany Plan of Union was intended to combine the English American colonies under a more centralized government, but not conceived out of a desire to secure independence from Great Britain.

The plan was adopted on July 10, 1754.  During the meeting of delegate commissioners from Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire they not only established a common treaty with the Indians, but also began to discuss intercolonial cooperation on other defense and economic matters.

By then the Brits had already dispatched Braddock as military commander-in-chief along with two commissioners to handle Indian relations, and the Albany Plan got lost in the shuffle.

bier, re. your first post...i'm reading "the glorious cause" in the fair to middlin "oxford history of the united states" series...the first 300 pages detail the causes of the american revolution, which if i'm reading it right, pretty much lays the blame at the feet of our founding fathers, who were never ones to waste a good excuse to revolt...that the "long train of abuses" wasn't all that long and none too abusive...interesting stuff and well worth a read.

[scrutney, I'm delaying a reply to your last until tomorrow].

Part 3 of 4
By John J. Tepaske
Published by Mike Gold

In 1724, the able and beloved Governor Antonio de Benavides requested that the subsidy be sent by land instead of by sea.

By maintaining a land route between New Spain and Florida, he hoped to eliminate the delays occasioned by the lack of ships in Vera Cruz. He envisaged a line of Spanish presidios on the Gulf Coast from Vera Cruz to Apalache. Initially these forts would serve as a protection for the land route, but eventually they might open the way for a lucrative coastal trade.

But to this farsighted proposal, the Council paid little heed. In 1735 and again in 1736 Governor Moral advocated another reform, which a predecessor had already promulgated. Moral asked that the entire subsidy be remitted to Florida in hard money. This would then enable him to bargain for supplies more advantageously in Havana, Yucatan, or Vera Cruz. This, in turn, would destroy the monopoly of Puebla merchants, one cause of high prices.

On the surface, the proposal appeared sound, but Moral's motives were less than noble. Under his rule Saint Augustine had become a center of illicit trade with the English, an almost unpardonable Spanish colonial offense. In 1736, one resident wrote that Englishmen walked the streets of Saint Augustine as if they were in London. A Cuban official stated that during his short sojourn in Florida, six English vessels had entered the harbor with supplies.

Thus, with extra specie from Puebla, Moral hoped to bargain for food, not with merchants in Havana or Campeche, but with English traders. The Council was aware of his actions, however, and refused Moral's request. He was ultimately ousted in 1737 for deliberately flaunting royal strictures against such commerce.

Governor Manuel de Montiano, who succeeded to the governorship in 1737, advocated other innovations to cure the economic ills of Florida. In 1744 he shocked the king and the Council of the Indies with the news that the Bishop in Puebla owed his colony 530,140 pesos, a figure which aptly demonstrates the failure of the Puebla system to keep pace with the needs of the colony.

To eliminate this exorbitant debit, Montiano set forth an elaborate devaluation scheme. He asked that 132,523 pesos be minted in special coins solely for use in Florida. Their value in relation to Mexican specie would be four-to-one; that is, the silver in one Mexican peso would be contained in four Florida pesos. While he admitted that the scheme would not work for the rest of the Empire, Montiano saw definite advantages for Florida. Not only would the new coins confuse English traders and make illicit trade difficult but also the new monetary system would prevent the flight of hard money from the colony since it had no value outside of Florida. In a spirit of unbounded optimism, he pointed out that a large debt could be completely paid off by a quarter of the amount actually owing. In Florida he could use the money for the needy, the construction of new buildings and defense projects, and payment of debts to Cuban merchants. He did not, however, propose any price-fixing system.

The Council of the Indies took up Montiano's proposal but agreed that a change in the intrinsic value of money was always a delicate point. Still, its members saw a chance to retire an outstanding debt by only a quarter of the amount due and the opportunity to eliminate illicit trade practices in Florida.

Upon the Council's recommendation the king ordered the Viceroy of New Spain to mint 150,000 pesos and escudos to be worth 600,000 pesos in Florida. He also provided for an exchange of old and new money with merchants of the Royal Havana Company, which then had the responsibility of supplying the Florida garrison.

Again nothing resulted from these grandiose plans. There is no evidence that the viceroy minted the coins, which could have relieved the desperate economic plight of the Florida colony. Two years after his proposal of the devaluation scheme, Montiano advocated another plan, which surely must have raised the royal eyebrows of the newly crowned Ferdinand VI.

Montiano argued that the plight of those serving under him could only be alleviated by free trade with English colonies in America. He was, of course, aware of the laws against such a trade, but in his opinion, the only salvation for Florida lay in such a plan.

Besides, it had certain very obvious advantages. Goods brought into Saint Augustine on English ships removed the risks and expenses involved when they were transported by Spanish vessels.

Molded bread, wormy flour, spoiled corn, and rancid meat would be a thing of the past since he would be able to examine the goods to be purchased. In addition, English traders furnished supplies at lower prices than their Spanish counterparts. Twenty five pounds of English flour cost eleven reales while the same item cost sixteen reales in New Spain.

To circumvent the religious damage which might result from trade with English heretics, the governor suggested that all exchanges be made on Santa Anastasia Island across the river from Saint Augustine. In this way he could insure the residents of the town against contamination by Protestant sailors.

Montiano also indicated that quick discharge of English cargoes would eliminate all opportunities for intercourse between the two nations. The arguments were all on the side of the governor, but Ferdinand VI was not yet prepared to grant such a radical departure from traditional trade policy.

As a result, the Florida garrison still continued to receive costly and tainted supplies. Expedience had kept the garrison going since 1565, and the king and the Council were willing to continue this policy.

[To be Concluded]

By John J. Tepaske
Published by Mike Gold

Part 4 of 4


The multitude of complaints and suggestions about the evils of the subsidy system brought about only one change after 1702.

Late in 1740 the king ordered that the entire subsidy be remitted to Cuba in hard money. Here the newly formed Royal Company of Havana would contract for supplies required by the Florida garrison, obtain the necessary money from the subsidy, and send on the remaining specie to Saint Augustine.

A similar company, established in Caracas in 1728, had eliminated the need for a subsidy in that area, and undoubtedly the King and the Council hoped the same thing might occur in Florida.

Such hopes were unfounded. The new Havana Company still required the subsidy from Puebla to buy supplies for Florida. Unless it received the money, the company refused to send on the needed goods. During the company's first years, the governor of Florida engaged its directors in a perpetual argument over the price of goods and over specific articles of the agreement to supply his colony.

But in the main, it was the recurrence of the same difficulty-procrastination in New Spain which lay at the root of these arguments.

After 1748, however, complaints of the Florida governor about non-delivery of the annual grant diminished. From the documents it is difficult to ascertain why, but it appears that the Havana Company began to make contracts with English traders in New York and South Carolina to furnish Florida with its annual needs. As Montiano had pointed out in 1746, English prices were lower; their supplies were in good condition; and there were no risks involved in transporting them. These advantages were not lost on the Havana Company.

The governor still had his problems, it is true, for the Havana Company retained more of the subsidy than he believed justified, but the problem of maintaining those serving under him eased to a considerable extent. With a profitable naval stores industry a very real possibility by the late 175O's, hopes for an economic awakening in Florida were high.

Unfortunately, a diplomat's treaty turned the colony over to Great Britain in 1763 before these hopes were realized.


From this hasty analysis of the economic problems of the eighteenth-century governor of Florida, it is apparent that his position was not secure.

Delays and shortages in the subsidy, capture of supply ships by foreign pirates and warships, inferior quality of foodstuffs, and their extremely high cost, all contributed to the complexity of his tasks. Reforms instituted in Spain or innovations proposed by the governor of Florida failed to revive the struggling colony.

With maladministration of the subsidy at the root of its economic problems, Florida was unable to develop despite the suggestions of various governors for improvement. In the end, too much depended upon the annual grant from New Spain.

The most outstanding fact of all, however, is that the Spaniards were able to maintain their foothold in Florida in the face of these almost insurmountable economic difficulties.

Perennially short of food and money and without an income from trade, mining, or farming to supplement aid from Cuba and New Spain, the Spanish governor and his soldiers managed to withstand two attacks by superior forces and ultimately to retain their precarious position in Florida. It is a tribute to Spanish enterprise and endurance that the colony survived at all.

scrutney wrote:
i'm reading "the glorious cause" in the fair to middlin "oxford history of the united states" series...the first 300 pages detail the causes of the american revolution, which if i'm reading it right, pretty much lays the blame at the feet of our founding fathers, who were never ones to waste a good excuse to revolt...that the "long train of abuses" wasn't all that long and none too abusive...interesting stuff and well worth a read.

Repeating how I began this thread:

Throughout the 16th, 17th and first three quarters of the 18th centuries many free, indentured, and slave emigrants from Europe and Africa settled in the New World of North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.  

They came for many reasons from many regions, monarchies, kingdoms, and city-states, speaking many languages and dialects. And the desire for religious, political and economic freedom (one or more) was definitely the reason(s) for those settlers who freely chose to emigrate. But the slaves and most of the indentured servants did not come to the Americas of their own free will - only later did they and their descendents pursue their own struggles for religious, political and economic freedom.  

Beginning in the 15th century the settlers arrived in New Spain, New France, and the English, Scottish, Swedish, Dutch, Moravian, German etc. settlements (which eventually came under British rule as the English Colonies) from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from Mexico to Canada, and the colonies' organizers, leaders, and Charter grantees initially had many different purposes and goals.

The settlers (free, servants, and slaves) spoke different languages and had different religious allegiences - Roman Catholic, other Catholic sects, and a myriad of the Protestant sects which had been springing up after Martin Luther's famous treatises, e.g. Huguenots, Dutch Reformed, Anglicans, Church of Sweden, Moravians, Puritans, etc.).

Royal charters had been given by the English Kings and Queens, Queen Christina of Sweden, the Dutch rulers, and the various Kings and Queens of France and Spain. Commercial contracts were also awarded by different European parliaments to individuals and to groups.

Roman Catholics had settled on islands in the Caribbean in the 15th century, and attempted settlements on the Atlantic coast of North America and the Gulf of Mexico early in the 16th.

Protestants of the Huguenot sect settled at present day Jacksonville FL in 1564, after fleeing from "mainstream" Protestants in France.
Religious toleration was not on the agenda in most colonies however, e.g., New France and New Spain were anti-Protestant, Puritan Massachusetts was anti-other-Protestants and anti-Cahtolics, with only Delaware, and later Pennsylvania accepting members of all religious beliefs as citizens (although not always as voters or office-holders).

Politically each colony ruled itself within the guidelines of the current King's or Queen's charter, and/or within the guidelines of the colonists' official Church.

But the guidelines from Europe, and the evolution of thought and practice (especially the freeing progressive liberal reactions of the Enlighenment and Reformation) over 20+ generations of the American-born combined with a constant flow of new immigrants had resulted in many individual differences in economic, religious and political life by the 1750s in the colonies.

And there had been many skirmishes and armed battles within and between colonies, and between colonies and the various Indian tribes and confederations through those 250 years.

Looking only at the English and British rulers, each of whom had different interactions with the English American Colonies:

- Queen Elizabeth I, 1558-1603
- King James I, 1603-1625
- King Charles I, 1625-1649
- Lord Oliver Cromwell, Protector of the English Commonwealth, 1649-1660
- King Charles II, 1660-1685
- King James II, 1685-1689
- King William III, 1689-1702
- Queen Anne, 1702-1714
- King George I, 1714-1727
- King George II, 1727-1760, and
- King George III, 1760

Although there had been efforts to form confederations between the American English colonies, and trade and trade agreements with French and Spanish colonies on the continent and in Central and South America and the islands, there had never been any major desire for the English colonies to seek independence from Great Britain - their major trading partner and provider of armed security on the oceans and in the Americas.

So what happened between 1754 when Washington retreated back to Virginia after skirmishing with the French (see SIDEBAR in my May 27th post on this thread) and 1763?

And then what happened in those years from 1763 until 1776 to cause the residents of 13 of the 15 English American Colonies to declare independence and separate from the British Empire?

The British Commander in Chief General Braddock died on July 13, 1755 after being wounded in an ambush; and the colonial war between New France and English Colonies (with Indians on both sides) stalemated into intermittent skirmishes.

But around the world the British, French and Spanish waged a major "world war":
- 1756, The French won a naval victory and captured the British island Minorca (off the coast of Spain in Mediterranean Sea).
- 1757, The British defeated French forces in India and in Africa, gaining control of territories.
- 1759, The British invaded and conquered Canada.
- 1761, The Spanish King Charles III came to the aid of his cousin, French King Louis XV, and their representatives signed the Family Compact on August 15, 1761, agreeing that Spain would declare war on Great Britain if the war did not end by the end of April 1762.
- 1762, The British King George III jumped the gun and declared war on Spain on January 4, 1762.
- 1762 The Brits captured the French Caribbean islands of St. Lucia, Guadalupe and Martinique.
- 1762,  The Brits captured Spanish Cuba in the Caribbean, and the Spanish Philippine Islands in the Pacific.
- 1762, Spain invaded Portugal, a British ally, but is repelled; and the last great battle in the war in Europe or anywhere else (Seven Years War a/k/a French and Indian War) is over.
- 1763, French and Spanish diplomats began to seek peace, ultimately resulting in the Treaty of Paris, with the terms and land swaps negotiated by Etienne-Fra'ois de Stanville, duc de Choisel, in one of the greatest diplomatic arbitrations in history.


Spain got Cuba back from Britain,
Spain got all of the New France territories west of the Mississippi from France, and
Spain got New Orleans from France.

France got the territories (lost in battles during the war) in India and Africa back from Britain,
France got the islands of Martinique, St. Lucia, and Guadalupe back from the British,
France got the right of French Catholics in British Canada to practice their religion, and
France got the right from Britain to fish in the Grand Banks of the Atlantic off of Newfoundland.

Britain kept Canada, formerly New France, after invading and occupying it during the war. Britain also got all of the New France territories east of the Mississippi, i.e. the "western lands" bordering the English Colonies which had precipitated the war.
Britain got back the Island of Minorca (cf. the St. Augustine "Menorcans" descended from the indentured servants from the failed indigo plantation in Cocoa Beach FL).
Britain got Florida, formerly part of New Spain (the 342 Spanish families in St. Augustine moved to Cuba, along with their Indian and African slaves; the British imported settlers from the English American Colonies and Europe).


France did OK, losing Canada which had been costing them big franks to support anyway, and retaining the money-making sugar trade islands in the Caribbean, and access to the money-making fishing Grand Banks in the Atlantic off Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. They also got back parts of their colonial empire in Africa and Asia. Only their pride was wounded (one of the reasons they aligned with the American Colonists during the Revolutionary War a decade later).

Spain also did OK, losing only Florida which had been costing them a lot of money with no return, and gaining the port of New Orleans and uncontested control of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California; which with Mexico, Central America north of the Isthmus of Panama and the coast of Venezuela continued to constitute New Spain. Spain also controlled the South American territory of Peru, which constituted all lands south of Panama. (Spain's American colonies remained until 1821).

Great Britain thought they did OK, as they had demonstrated their military superiority and expanded their worldwide Empire, including obtaining control of all of North America north, south and west of the English American Colonies to the Mississippi River (except for New Orleans). Thus the Colonies no longer had to fight to maintain borders with New France and New Spain; and the Indians no longer had European allies to assist them in resisting the colonial settlers.

Ironically, and unfortunately for the British Empire, victory on the field of battle around the world initiated the process which precipitated the American Colonies declaring independence and initiating the Revolutionary War.

King George III and the British Parliament thought that the colonists throughout the British Empire should support the central government and the armies and navies which had initially won control of the foreign lands, and which continued to defend them, and to maintain security of ports and shipping lanes (actually about a third of the American colonists agreed with the King).

Because of the enormous expense of the Seven Years War, the Crown and Parliament had not only borrowed heavily, but had also begun to miss making their debt service payments, and the British Empire was rapidly losing further avenues of credit with European bankers and investors.

The first mistake was to impose additional taxes on the American English Colonies and colonists (See the first post of this thread, and the list of British Acts).

The second mistake was - because of lack of funds - the British were no longer willing and able to provide troops and weapons from England to help the American English Colonies in the still continuing battles with Indians.

And not only that, but simultaneously the King and Parliament attempted to limit western expansion by the American colonists - the migrations of settlers which led to provocations and more Indian wars.

Add in all the other "causes" as outlined in the "Oxford History...," and a "perfect storm" had accumulated:

1. The progressive liberal thinking of the Enlightenment had freed politics and the philosophy of government from the rigid control of a millenium of Catholic conservative doctrines.

2. The Protestant Reformation similarly had destroyed the Catholic monolith of the God/man duties.

3. Many residents in the American Colonies were hitting the ever present "bottom line" of inability of providing basic needs and opportunity for economic gain; and perceived (rightly or wrongly) the new taxes as "the last straw" in their economic woes.

The thinkers and the "movers and shakers" in the Colonies inspired approx. a third of the colonial residents in 13 of the 15 British Colonies (British Canada and British Florida remained loyal to England) to support the Revolution.

bier wrote:
The thinkers and the "movers and shakers" in the Colonies inspired approx. a third of the colonial residents in 13 of the 15 British Colonies (British Canada and British Florida remained loyal to England) to support the Revolution.

although middlekauff (the author of the aforementioned "glorious cause") lightly touched on most of what you mentioned in "how i began this thread" and "the diplomatic deal"...needless to say, he didn't draw it together as succinctly as your summation...-brevity is the soul of wit...(and lingerie)-

not being an historian, i tend to get bogged down in the minutiae...ya know:

"lord cuthbert skankington, chancellor of the exchequer, minister of the mundane, through sheer force of will, rammed the "itinerant seaman's fiscal emolument act" through an indolent house of lords, to a chorus of hear hears, jolly goods, and an errant, 'what ho' thrown in for good measure...

upon receipt of the legislation, king george III wryly commented : "this really takes the biscuit" and promptly signed it into law.

response in the colonies could be best summed up by sam adam's curt: "bugger it, this sucks."

fortified by the spirit of independence, righteous indignation and an injudicious amount of hard cider, the colonists took to the streets, tore down the tax collectors humble abodes, (brick by brick) and pitched several thousand stroppets* of tea into boston harbor."

*not a real word, but i liked the sound of it.


And I'm sure we'd all agree that those first tea partiers were entitled to not pay any taxes at all (i.e. be in a non-profit status), because obviously tossing the stroppets of tea into the sea wasn't political. Forum Index -> We the People
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