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together, and trained them in war. 2. Alliances formed with the powerful Iroquois Confederacy of New York served as a barrier against the designs of the Canadian French, and thus favored the unity and continued growth of the English colonies. 3. Through a treaty made with the Iroquois at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the English obtained a formal title to the lands beyond the Alleghanies ; thus they secured room for expansion, and laid the foundation of our hold on the West.
34. Effects of the discovery of America on Europe. – 1. The success of Columbus gave rise to voyages of exploration, and opened new fields for commerce. Spain rapidly rose through the supply of precious metals she obtained in Mexico and Peru, to be the most powerful nation in Europe. The large amount of gold and silver thus brought into circulation in the Old World stimulated rival nations to send out expeditions to conquer and colonize empires in America.
In England and on the Continent the increase of the precious metals frequently enabled the peasantry, who paid a fixed money rent, to become owners of the lands they cultivated. Many emigrants of the best class who came to this country from England sprang from that thrifty and industrious peasantry.
2. The Spaniards who settled the West Indies at first enslaved the Indians; but finding that negroes were far more profitable as laborers, they gradually introduced African slavery into those islands. After the English planted colonies on the mainland, much of their commerce was with the West Indies. Interference with this trade by the British Government was one cause of the American Revolution.
3. North America gave Europe new food products of inestimable value. Chief among them stand the potato and Indian
Besides these, the cod fisheries of Newfoundland furnished the poorer classes with inexhaustible supplies of that cheap and well-known fish. America also in time supplied Europe with such luxuries as cocoa and tobacco. Columbus found cotton in the West Indies, and carried back with him
cloth manufactured from it by the natives. Sugar, rice, and cotton had long been produced in the East Indies; but their high price in Europe made them the luxuries of the rich. Now they were discovered growing wild in America. Eventually their cultivation in the Southern States made them so cheap that they came into general use throughout the civilized world.
4. But the crowning result of the discovery of America was that it widened the intellectual horizon to a degree that no event ever had before. Men found that they were living in a grander world than they had imagined. New possibilities, new opportunities were opened to them. Hope was awakened, enterprise stimulated. "If," says Freeman, the eminent English historian, “the New World owes its being to the Old World, the Old owes to the New the revival and expansion of its being.”
At best the Old World was limited; men knew its bounds and its resources. There, progress was beset with difficulty ; but no one dared to fix the limits of America or say what marvels it contained. Here certainly was room for all, and food for all. If in many of its physical aspects - its soil and climate -- it was Europe repeated, still it was repeated on a colossal scale, with vaster forests, wider prairies, loftier mountain ranges, grander lakes, and nobler rivers. Unlike Europe, America fronts on two oceans; it naturally commands the trade of Europe and Africa on the one side, and of Asia and the Indies on the other.
America invited all classes of men to her hospitable shores. She seemed to say : Come here and be free, for here is a virgin field in which to try not only all experiments in the development of material resources, but in government and in the organization of society; - here, in short, is a New World ; you shall make of it what you will.
35. Summary.-1. In 1492 Columbus, while seeking a direct, all-water route to the Indies, discovered the West India Islands and opened them to Spanish occupation. The voyages of Americus Vespucius suggested the name America for the
New World. By the beginning of the 17th century the Spaniards had discovered Florida, the Mississippi and the Pacific, explored parts of the South and West, made a settlement at St. Augustine, Florida, and taken possession of Mexico and New Mexico.
2. Meanwhile, the French had explored the St. Lawrence and made an attempt to get a foothold in the South, but had been driven out by the Spaniards.
3. In 1497 John Cabot first discovered the continent of North America and claimed possession of it for England. In the next century Sir Walter Raleigh planted English settlements in Virginia, but they were soon abandoned.
4. The close of the sixteenth century left the Spaniards the sole possessors of North America. So far as could then be seen, Spain, and Spain alone, was destined to control the future of the territory which is now the United States.
For Authorities for this Chapter, see Appendix, page xxiv. The small figures
refer to Notes on Authorities cited on page xxx of the Appendix.
36. English trading expeditions; the fisheries; Virginia colonies planned. — Although Raleigh's attempt to plant a colony in Virginia had failed, yet the English continued to send out occasional fishing and fur-trading expeditions to America. By 1600 the British Newfoundland fisheries employed not less than ten thousand men and boys.45
Gosnold (1602) and Weymouth (1605) made voyages to that part of Northern Virginia which was later named New England, and carried back favorable accounts. Two commercial companies, known as the London and the Plymouth companies, were formed in England to plant permanent colonies in Virginia, - a territory then extending from Cape Fear to Halifax.46
Several reasons prompted this undertaking: 1. The companies hoped to discover mines of precious metals in Virginia or to find a passage to the Pacific and the Indies.
2. It was believed that colonies in Virginia would draw off a restless class of disbanded soldiers and of young men out of work,
then numerous in England; that they would employ many idle vessels in carrying out emigrants and freight; that they would open new markets for English goods, and finally that
England would be able to get a cheap and abundant supply of ship-timber, tar, and rosin from her American colonies.
3. Some of the promoters of the enterprise had broader views; they looked beyond material gains, and resolved to plant great and growing colonies in Virginia which should secure to England a mighty empire in America.
But the plans of the Companies had opponents. Hume says that even in 1606 there were Englishmen who thought it bad policy to plant colonies in Virginia, because such settlements “after draining the mother-country of inhabitants would soon shake off her yoke and erect an independent government.” 47
I. VIRGINIA (1607).
37. The Virginia Charter (1606); appeal to that charter. The charter 48 of the London Company gave them power to establish settlements in Southern Virginia anywhere between the 34th and 38th degrees of north latitude (that is, between Cape Fear and the Potomac). To the Plymouth Company the King by the same charter granted the territory in Northern Virginia between the 41st and 45th degrees of north latitude (that is, between the eastern end of Long Island and the northern limit of Nova Scotia). The intervening country (38th to 41st degrees), embracing what is now Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and New York, was open to colonization by either Company, but neither was to make a settlement within one hundred miles of the other.
The charter provided : 1. That each grant should extend one hundred miles inland.
2. That the territory should be free of all tax to the King, save a certain reservation (from a fifth to a fifteenth) of any valuable metals which might be found. 3. The King guaranteed to the colonists and their descendants the same rights and privileges “as if they had been abiding and were born within this our realm of England.” 49