Blood and Boundaries: Virginia Backcountry Violence and the Origins of the Quebec Act, 1758-1775

Matthew L. Rhoades


The intent of the Quebec Act was, first and foremost, to provide a permanent civil government for the French Canadian residents of Quebec. Secondarily, however, Frederick, Lord North, the king’s prime minister and the secretary of state for the colonies, George Legge, Earl of Dartmouth, wanted to resolve an issue that had vexed imperial authorities ever since the end of the Seven Years’ War: the enforcement of an Anglo-Indian backcountry boundary.


Since Parliament debated and approved the Quebec Act simultaneously with the Coercive Acts, scholars often regard the bill with the same opprobrium reserved for the legislation approved to punish refractory Sons of Liberty for the Boston “Tea Party.” Undeniably, by the summer of 1774, Americans regarded with deep suspicion anything that appeared either to erode extant rights or establish potentially dangerous precedents. Parliament, for instance, denied French Canadians the right to a legislative assembly, but did so only because the habitants’ religion precluded them from government service in an empire in which Roman Catholicism remained technically illegal. Paranoid American radicals seized on Parliament’s failure to grant an assembly as the harbinger of a sinister plot to deprive them of their right to self-government. Parliament’s readiness to tolerate French Canadian Roman Catholicism also raised the dander of bigoted Anglo-American Protestants and sparked rumors of popish plots to destroy religious liberty. Finally, the provision that allowed King George III to establish ecclesiastical courts in Quebec convinced non-Anglicans throughout America of the imminent desire of Parliament to establish an Anglican bishop in America. While the act was not a conspiracy against American liberties in the thirteen restive colonies, the fears and suspicions of the putative revolutionaries were not entirely mistaken.1

The intent of the Quebec Act was, first and foremost, to provide a permanent civil government for the French Canadian residents of Quebec. Secondarily, however, Frederick, Lord North, the king’s prime minister and the secretary of state for the colonies, George Legge, Earl of Dartmouth, wanted to resolve an issue that had vexed imperial authorities ever since the end of the Seven Years’ War: the enforcement of an Anglo-Indian backcountry boundary. The solution proposed in the Quebec Act was to exclude Americans, particularly Virginia frontiersmen, from the Indian territory north and west of the Ohio River. Since none of the king’s or Parliament’s regulations had the slightest effect on the bloody Virginia backcountry, North’s parliamentary managers tried to make the prospect of settlement in the territory west of the river so unpalatable to liberty-loving, Protestant Virginians that they would remain east of the new boundary and leave the Ohio Indians in peace. The Quebec Act not only extended the borders of that province southward to the Ohio, but also provided a judicial system that British post commanders and future civil authorities could use to punish trespassers onto the king’s, and the Indians’ land. In that sense, Parliament indeed intended to punish Americans with the Quebec Act, but the purpose was to create an Indian territory in which the most refractory of all the Americans, the Virginians, could finally be brought to justice for their frequently homicidal deeds.

Military necessity dictated the first British attempt to establish a permanent Indian territory. In 1758, as the British and provincial soldiers of Brigadier General John Forbes marched steadily westward through Pennsylvania toward the Forks of the Ohio and Fort Duquesne, the area’s Delaware, Shawnee, and Allegheny Seneca inhabitants were firm French allies. Forbes, however, was determined to avoid the mistakes of the last British general who sought the Forks, Edward Braddock, whose pronouncement that “no savage shall inherit the land” alienated the Ohio Indians and doomed his expedition. Thus, Forbes demanded that Pennsylvania governor William Denny and northern Indian superintendent Sir William Johnson secure at least the Ohio Indians’ neutrality, if not their outright friendship, for the impending campaign. Denny and Johnson came through for Forbes in the October 1758 Treaty of Easton, but Delaware chief Pisquetomen drove a hard bargain: the British had to guarantee the sanctity of the Ohio Indians’ hunting grounds as the price for their neutrality. With potential enemies thus placated, Forbes’s march resulted in the eventual French evacuation of Fort Duquesne and the British occupation of the Forks. Among the occupiers were hundreds of Virginia provincial troops, commanded by Colonel George Washington, who scanned the ground around them with discerning eyes and hoped that they glimpsed the Old Dominion’s western future.2

Washington had, in fact, inadvertently triggered the Seven Years’ War previously in his attempts to secure the Forks for the Ohio Company of Virginia. His desire to exploit the region’s inhabitants and resources remained. Soon after the conquest, Washington wrote to Virginia lieutenant governor Francis Fauquier that “a Trade free, and open upon equitable terms, is what [the Indians] seem to stickle for; and I do not know so effectual a way of rivetting them to our interest, as sending out Goods immediately for that purpose.” Washington’s keen surveyor’s eyes also noted the richness of the land in the confluence’s environs and coveted it for himself and the other veterans of his Virginia regiment. Fauquier’s immediate predecessor, Robert Dinwiddie, offered Virginia men parcels of western land if they enlisted in Washington’s regiment. Now, with the war apparently over, Washington reminded Fauquier of Dinwiddie’s promise and petitioned him on his own and his soldiers’ behalf. Fauquier rejected Washington’s petition at the time because it conflicted with Britain’s emergent Indian policy, the idea of an Indian hunting territory outlined in the Treaty of Easton. Washington never gave up on the issue. Neither did other covetous Virginians.3

Toward the end of the Seven Years’ War, hunters and squatters from Virginia inundated the Monongahela River valley in search of free land and game. Colonel Henry Bouquet, commander of the Royal Americans at Fort Pitt, protested to General Jeffrey Amherst and Fauquier that “several Idle People from Virga & Maryland made it a practice to hunt along the Monongahela, which gives umbrage to the Indians.” He wanted the governors of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia to prohibit the “infestation” of the “Scum of the neighbouring Provinces” at Redstone Creek. In addition, Bouquet ordered the commander of the tiny communication post at Fort Burd on the Monongahela, Angus McDonald, to organize a detachment and sweep the Virginia squatters and hunters from illegal settlements at Redstone and on the Youghiogheny and Monongahela Rivers. McDonald hoped to catch as many squatters as possible at the Great Crossing of the Youghiogheny, one of the few fordable places on the swift river. After a frustrating summer of hide and seek, McDonald gave up his pursuit of the Virginians in despair. The sergeant complained to Bouquet that “the Indians seems very much disturbed and say the white people Kills all there Deer yet those hunters Keeps so far from the Fort [Fort Burd] That I Cannot See them nor Can I Send after Them[.] I have taken Some of there horses but Cannot take themselves.” McDonald wanted from Bouquet a written warning that he could post at the Great Crossing and other parts of the Youghiogheny so that he “Could Handle them more Ruffer if they Should Come again.”4

Tired of the repeated need to sweep the squalid squatter communities near Fort Pitt, Bouquet issued a proclamation to order frontier ruffians out of the Ohio Indians’ protected hunting territory. Bouquet proclaimed in 1761 that “the Country to the West of the Alleghany Mountains is allowed to the Indians for their Hunting Ground, and as it is of the Highest ­Importance to His Majesty’s Service, [and] the Preservation of the Peace and good understanding with the Indians, to avoid giving them any Just cause of Complaint, this is therefore to forbid any of His Majesty’s Subjects to Settle or Hunt to the West of the Alleghany Mountains on any Pretence Whatsoever, unless such Persons have obtained leave in Writing of the General or the Governor’s of their Provinces Respectively and produced the same to the Commanding Officer at Fort Pitt.” Violators of the proclamation subjected themselves to confiscation of their property and a court martial. Bouquet sent his proclamation first to McDonald at the Great Crossing of the Youghiogheny, and then to James Livingston, the commander of Fort Cumberland, so that Virginians would “not expose themselves to certain punishment for their Trespasses & disobedience of orders.”5

The Virginia tide that washed over the Monongahela Valley augured ill for any effort to maintain an Indian territory such as that prescribed by the Easton Treaty. Episodes such as Bouquet’s sweep of the Redstone settlements alarmed the new secretary of state for the Southern Department, the Earl of Egremont, due to the frequency with which they occurred. As the guardian of the king’s interests in America, Egremont had two paramount tasks. First, he had to provide for the safety of the colonies against the designs of hostile powers. Second, he sought the “Preservation of the internal Peace & Tranquility of the Country against any Indian Disturbances.” Of the two objectives, Egremont believed that the latter was most important, and thus he ordered the Board of Trade to solicit the advice of the king’s Indian superintendents in America, Sir William Johnson and Charles Stuart, and submit recommendations based on their advice for the creation of an Indian territory in the trans-Appalachian West. That investigation, initiated by Egremont in May 1763, provided the impetus for the famous Royal Proclamation of October 7, 1763. The “disturbance” that allegedly spurred the proclamation, Pontiac’s War, erupted as Egremont sent his missive to the Board of Trade for their consideration.6

In their reply to Egremont, the Lords of Trade proposed an Indian territory that was to be free of Anglo-American settlements and enforced by the army. “Sound Policy,” the board declared, dictated that the West “be left under Your Majesty’s immediate Protection, to the Indian Tribes for their Hunting Grounds; where no Settlement by planting is intended, immediately at least, to be attempted; and consequently where no particular form of Civil Government can be established.” Since the Indian territory lacked civilian government, however, no mechanism existed to apprehend and punish scofflaw traders or other criminals that absconded into the ­region. When Egremont raised that issue with the king, George III proposed a novel solution: place the Indian territory under the legal jurisdiction of the recently acquired province of Quebec. Since the king or Parliament had to devise a civil government for the former French province, a court system could be extended into Indian country and thus obviate the need to transport criminals to their home provinces for prosecution. British soldiers could then defend the backcountry rather than provide law enforcement.7

By the time the Board of Trade issued the report that formed the core of the Royal Proclamation, news of Pontiac’s War had finally reached Whitehall. The board therefore urged the king to issue a proclamation immediately to demonstrate “Your Majesty’s fixed Determination to permit no grant of Lands nor any settlements to be made within certain fixed Bounds, under pretence of Purchase or any other Pretext whatsoever, leaving all that Territory within it free for the Hunting Grounds” of the Ohio Indians and their western native neighbors. While they endorsed the concept of an Indian territory, the Lords demurred on the king’s proposal to place the region under Quebec’s jurisdiction on two grounds. First, the board wanted to reinforce the idea that they claimed western territories through their Covenant Chain alliance with the Six Nations of the Iroquois rather than by right of conquest from the French.8 Second, if the governor of Quebec assembled the trade regulations for his province, then he would undoubtedly favor French Canadian voyageurs to the prejudice of traders from other provinces. Even though George Montagu Dunk, Earl of Halifax, the new secretary of state for the Southern Department, concurred with the board’s judgment on the matter, the idea to extend Quebec’s jurisdiction southward and westward remained a potential solution to problems caused by unruly settlers that carelessly sparked a backcountry war.9

The proclamation that resulted from the Board of Trade’s final report was very much an ad hoc measure calculated to forestall problems associated with the empire’s backcountry expansion. In sum, the Royal Proclamation ordered provincial governors to desist from land grants west of the crest of the Appalachians and reserved “under our Sovereignty, Protection, and Dominion” all of the territory west of the line for the various Indian nations domiciled there. The proclamation, moreover, outlawed private purchases of Indian lands. Anglo-Americans who lived west of the Proclamation line, even those who lived in the region legally, had to evacuate Indian territory and remove east of the mountains. Americans had the right to trade freely within Indian country subject to regulations devised by their home provinces. The proclamation left law enforcement to the king’s western garrisons. Finally, the king reserved the right to adjust the proclamation line if his Indian superintendents deemed it prudent. Like the line that the king’s order prescribed, everything in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 was provisional and had to be revisited periodically.10

In July 1764, as a supplement to the recent Royal Proclamation, the Board of Trade issued new guidelines for the conduct of Indian affairs that they hoped would assist Crown officials in enforcing the proclamation line. According to the Crown, Indian trade had to remain “free and open,” and the new orders were intended for that purpose. First, the board addressed the administrative aspects of the trade. The plan retained the two Indian departments that General Edward Braddock had established in 1754 to meet the army’s diplomatic needs, but defined more closely the administrative reach of each. The superintendents, Sir William Johnson in the north and John Stuart in the south, were primarily responsible for the management of frontier trade. The plan concentrated all legal Indian trade at Pitt, Niagara, Detroit, and Michilimackinac in the north, and in Cherokee towns designated by Stuart in the south. In addition, traders now had to take out licenses at one of the posts to participate in frontier trade and agree to sell their wares in accordance with a standardized fee schedule in use at each post. The purpose of the new trade regime was to enforce the separation of populations mandated by the proclamation line. Since the Royal Proclamation of 1763, as well as the new regulations, barred settlers from the west side of the line, the licensed traders were the only British subjects permitted to travel freely in “Indian country.” With red-white interaction thus limited, the Crown hoped that the new trade regime would help the Indian superintendents keep frontier violence to a minimum.11

As in the past, trade and diplomacy remained intimately linked, so the Board of Trade designated Johnson and Stuart as their sole representatives in native diplomacy. Provincial governors served solely as consultants, but had to correspond frequently with the Indian superintendents to keep them apprised of important affairs on their frontiers. The centralization of the Indian trade served on the one hand to make the entire regime more efficient. The Crown recognized that boundary lines such as the one drawn in the October 7, 1763, proclamation could only be effective if Johnson, Stuart, and its military commander, Major General Thomas Gage, kept natives and settlers separated on the frontier. Most importantly, however, the Board of Trade realized that, while the proclamation line was a useful tool to implement its western policy, they never intended for it to be the final boundary. Indeed, the Board of Trade ordered the Indian superintendents to consult with the native groups under their jurisdiction to “ascertain and define the precise and exact Boundary & Limits of the Lands, which it may be proper to reserve to them, and where no Settlement whatever shall be allowed.”12

Neither did Virginians already in the Monongahela Valley view the proclamation line as the final boundary. In the winter of 1765-1766, anti-Indian violence increased exponentially in the Redstone Creek region. Fauquier admitted to the Board of Trade that he could not stop a new stream of squatters that materialized after Pontiac’s War. Since then, “several people from Pennsylvania and our back Settlements” went out to Redstone Creek and the Monongahela and Cheat Rivers to stake out “tomahawk claims,” or illegal land claims marked out by settlers by chopping tomahawk marks on trees to delineate the extent of their property. In the summer and fall of 1765, a detachment of troops from the 42nd Regiment at Fort Pitt swept the Redstone settlements and ran out the Virginia settlers, but, once the troops returned to garrison duty, the squatters returned to their tomahawk claims. On April 10, 1766, Fauquier issued another proclamation that forbade settlement west of the proclamation line, but settlers continued to pour over the mountains. Fauquier frankly admitted to the Board of Trade that such behavior was “likely to irritate the Indians and disturb our legal Settlers, but how to prevent it I am at a Loss.”13

The increasingly frustrated General Gage received almost daily reports from Sir William Johnson of the Virginians’ murderous activities from Iroquois chiefs and warriors. In June 1766, Gage dispatched Captain James Mackay of the 42nd Regiment at Fort Pitt to assemble a small delegation of Shawnee and Delaware chiefs and force squatters back to their “several Provinces without delay.” He took along the chiefs so that they could see that Gage meant to enforce Crown Indian regulations. In fact, the presence of the chiefs probably steeled the Virginia squatters’ resolve to stand their ground. After he presented the Shawnee and Delaware chiefs to an assembly of squatters and hunters, Mackay warned them to refrain from illegal trade and hunting. If they did not obey, Mackay told them that the “Indians will be incouraged in this way of doing themselves Justice, and if Accidents should happen you Lawless People must look upon yourselves as the cause of whatever may be the Consequence hurtful to your Persons and Estates.” Mackay’s warning, however, went unheeded. Johnson still received complaints from Six Nations chiefs about the Redstone settlers. “The ignorant People,” Johnson concluded, “who are guilty of all this without reflecting that they will first fall a Sacrifice to their Obstinacy, still continue this Conduct, in so much that I can no longer amuse the Indians with promises of Justice, as they see plainly that we either want the Power or the will to redress them.”14

Imperial officials from Gage to Lord Shelburne, the new secretary of state for the Southern Department, grew impatient with Fauquier’s inability to control Virginia frontiersmen. In September 1766, Shelburne ordered Fauquier to take more aggressive measures to curb the illegal Redstone settlements. Fauquier issued another ineffective proclamation. He insisted to the secretary of state that he had taken every possible measure to bring the frontier under control. On several occasions, Gage offered troops to Fauquier to restore order on the frontier, but the lieutenant governor always refused to use military coercion against a civilian population. After he received more complaints about the Virginians from Gage, Johnson, and John Stuart, Shelburne also ordered Fauquier to take more aggressive measures against the perpetrators of frontier violence and threatened to recall him if he refused.15

Fauquier’s ceaseless proclamations failed, however. “The Virginians who had seated themselves upon the Branches of the Monongahela still remain there,” Gage complained to Shelburne, “and have had new Broils with the Indians.” Deputy Indian superintendent George Croghan noted that there were “double the Number of Inhabi[tants]” at the Redstone Creek and Cheat River settlements than there were before Fauquier issued his numerous proclamations. Johnson not only lamented Fauquier’s inaction, but also blamed him for the problem. The superintendent believed that “from the encreasing Number of those Intruders that there are persons of some Consequence Who if they would not patronize, would be unwilling to discountenance them.” By early 1768, Johnson claimed that there were “above 500 Familys” domiciled at Redstone Creek, and that most of the squatters were Virginians. Fauquier’s inattention to backcountry lawlessness angered Gage. New policies crafted by the recently created secretary of state for the colonies, however, made the general throw up his hands in disgust.16

Imperial parsimony now threatened Gage’s ability to police the backcountry. Due to the staggering debt left from the Seven Years’ War, as well as the failure of Parliament to find a tax that unruly colonial subjects would pay, economy trumped all other policy concerns in America. The army’s attempts to police the upper Ohio Valley, moreover, were an expensive failure. In April 1768, Wills Hill, Earl of Hillsborough, the secretary of state for the colonies, ordered Gage at the Crown’s request to evacuate all of the army’s western posts except Michilimackinac, Detroit, and Fort Pitt. Additionally, Hillsborough slashed the budgets of the northern and southern Indian departments and relieved Johnson and Stuart of their obligations to regulate the Indian trade. As a further economy measure, Indian trade regulation now devolved onto the individual provinces, whose legislatures now had to furnish law and order for the unruly backcountry. Hillsborough insisted in a missive to Gage that the policy outlined in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 was a mere stopgap measure that had run its course. Obviously blind to the reality on the ground, Hillsborough pronounced the proclamation a success and now passed the torch to the individual colonies because of the “public Utility & Advantage” that such a policy promised. Hillsborough’s claim of success was really an admission of failure despite the positive spin that he put on the situation. The Virginia backcountry careened out of control, and neither the army nor the Indian superintendents possessed the wherewithal to halt the cycle of violence.17

In the end, the efforts of Gage’s redcoated backcountry constabulary to sweep the Redstone and Cheat settlements of squatters proved futile. Indeed, Crown policy might possibly have contributed to the army’s difficulties. Not only did the Royal Proclamation of 1763 fail to stanch the human tide that trudged over the Appalachians on an annual basis, but it also might have encouraged squatters to violate royal writ. Once across the mountains, frontiersmen and their families were effectively beyond the reach of provincial authority as well as the royal officials and land speculators whose interests the king’s regulations protected. Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor Fauquier had already demonstrated a singular lack of interest in law enforcement in the backcountry. Even if he wanted to arrest and prosecute the squatters, Fauquier lacked the means. Similarly, land speculators such as George Washington and Dr. Thomas Walker, the leaders of the great Virginia land syndicates, claimed hundreds of thousands of acres of backcountry real estate, but the Royal Proclamation barred them from sale or development. Thus, time and circumstances were on the side of the frontiersmen. All they had to do was to develop a small plot, improve it, defend it against the Ohio Indians, and then hope that their claims would be legitimized at some point. With Hillsborough’s intention to transfer troops to the east, the squatters’ chances of success improved exponentially at the expense of the Ohio Indians.18

Hillsborough’s surrender must be seen in a larger context, however. Lawlessness in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia concerned Hillsborough and Parliament far more than the murders of Indians by backcountry miscreants. Parliamentary efforts to find taxes that Americans would pay concerned imperial officials most directly. “Sons of Liberty” and other opponents of Parliament’s “conspiracy” to “enslave” the colonies threatened royal officials with violence if they did their jobs. Soon, Gage had to dispatch a regiment of redcoats to Boston to stamp out the Liberty riots, an action that merely threw gasoline onto an already roaring fire. Hillsborough’s decision to leave the management of Indian affairs to the individual colonies signaled a lack of interest in the issue on the Crown’s part. Men such as the northern Indian superintendent Sir William Johnson and his deputy George Croghan chose to interpret the Crown’s policy shift as a lack of interest in their own activities. Thus, while the Grafton ministry tried to figure out how to tax Americans, Johnson searched for new ways to profit from his powerful position as the guardian of Indian interests.19

As part of its reorganization of the Crown’s western policy, the Board of Trade succumbed to pressure on the ground and recommended a westward shift in the proclamation line. For the past two years, Stuart, Johnson, Gage, Fauquier, and other royal officials bombarded Whitehall with accounts of land theft perpetrated by unruly frontiersmen, primarily Virginians, and their murder of the native inhabitants. An expanded proclamation line allowed Virginia “to extend their settlements further to the Westward than they have hitherto been able to do with any degree of safety.” In other words, Shelburne and the Board of Trade finally gave in to the Virginia squatters who were responsible for most of the frontier violence about which Johnson and Gage complained in their frequent correspondence. With the westerly removal of the line, Virginia had plenty of room for expansion. Settlers in the Monongahela Valley illegally might now make good their possession of a “tomahawk” claim.20

Shelburne’s 1768 decision to replace the Proclamation Line of 1763 proved popular in Virginia, since it appeared to open more territory for settlement. In March 1768, Johnson wrote to Fauquier to enlist his support and cooperation in the execution of the new line. Fauquier died before the letter reached Virginia. The government passed into the hands of the president of the Council of State, John Blair. In his first official act in office, Blair presented Johnson’s letter to the council, which proved eager to assist the Indian commissioner with the line. As Johnson had hoped, Blair sent to him “a Power under our Seal” to negotiate a line on Virginia’s behalf and to redress Six Nations grievances over the Virginians’ violent frontier behavior “and to do them strict Justice to the utmost of our power in punishing their unjust Offenders when they can be apprehended and duely convicted of their Offence.” Blair pledged Virginia’s cooperation in large part because he already knew of negotiations between the Six Nations and Johnson that resulted in a new line at the Ohio River. Johnson later convened a council at Fort Stanwix, New York, at which the Iroquois land cession was to be approved by all parties involved, including Virginia.21

Andrew Lewis and Thomas Walker, two men who had pecuniary interests in the outcome of Johnson’s proposed treaty council, represented Virginia at Fort Stanwix. Lewis was the nominal president of the old Greenbrier Company, while Walker remained a prominent member of the Loyal Company. Since the Proclamation line cut off the land claims of both syndicates, Lewis and Walker were anxious to have the line redrawn to accommodate their claims. In fact, the line to which Lewis and Walker finally agreed was generous, to say the least. At Fort Stanwix, Iroquois chiefs conceded a boundary that extended almost the entire length of the Ohio River. At Johnson’s council, moreover, the Virginians hoped to undo Stuart’s work on the southern frontier. Stuart, on instructions from Hillsborough, drew Virginia’s western boundary at the Great Kanawha River. The Virginians hoped that, if they could secure a more generous line from Johnson, then they could play the two Indian superintendents off against each other and in the ensuing confusion grab as much western land as possible.22

As it turned out, Johnson’s generous boundary diverted Lewis’s and Walker’s attention from another scheme that might have demolished Virginia backcountry land claims. William Trent and Samuel Wharton, Johnson’s friends and representatives of a group that called themselves the “Suffering Traders,” and incorporated as the Indiana, or Walpole, Company, attended the Fort Stanwix council to lobby for an extensive land grant as compensation for their massive trade losses during the Seven Years’ War. The “Suffering Traders” included among their ranks influential traders such as Croghan and Trent, royal governors such as William Franklin of New Jersey, and the wealthy Philadelphia merchant firms Baynton, Wharton, and Morgan and Simon, Trent, Levy, and Franks. All of these parties had ties to Johnson in one way or another. Croghan was Johnson’s deputy at Fort Pitt; Trent and Franklin were personal friends. The two mercantile firms handled Johnson’s supply contracts that he negotiated as the superintendent of the Northern Department. Johnson, moreover, was a silent partner in the Indiana Company. As compensation for their trade losses, the investors in the Indiana Company wanted a large parcel of land bounded on the west and north by the Ohio, the south by the Little Kanawha River, and east by the Monongahela. The Indiana “claim,” therefore, was also west of the 1763 proclamation line, and hence their interest in its renegotiation. The point of the entire scheme was to create a new colony on the Ohio River, eventually called “Vandalia,” that would block Virginia’s westward expansion.23

The proposed Vandalia colony could have been a boon to Crown efforts to create and preserve a western Indian territory. After all, colonies had to have civil government which included courts, jails, sheriffs, deputies, and militias. A new colony might have provided a modicum of security and stability in an increasingly violent zone of interaction between native and newcomer. Hillsborough, nonetheless, doggedly opposed the Vandalia project due to his pique at Johnson for negotiating a boundary line with the Iroquois that far exceeded his royal instructions. Even though the Walpole Company’s most energetic proponents, Samuel Wharton and Benjamin Franklin, lobbied strenuously inside the ministry and won most of the cabinet to their side, Hillsborough would not budge. In 1772, Hillsborough finally resigned his office in part because of his disdain for the Vandalia scheme. Prospects appeared favorable after the appointment of the Earl of Dartmouth as the American secretary, but the American Revolution intervened before anything could be done.24

While the Ohio River boundary pleased land speculators, it did nothing to curb the endemic violence in the Virginia backcountry. In September 1769, Hampshire County sheriff Felix Seymour reported that John Ryan, previously implicated in the murder of the Delaware chief Captain Peters, along with an accomplice, murdered two Indians near the Greenbrier River. County lieutenant Adam Stephen also related a slew of recent homicides to the new governor, Norborne Berkeley, Lord Botetourt. In another notorious case, a band of backcountry thugs that called themselves the “Black Boys” harassed the garrison at Fort Pitt and ambushed army supply trains on the Forbes Road because of their insistence that the soldiers cared more about the Indians than the Anglo-American backcountry settlers. Botetourt threatened severe punishment of Virginians convicted of killing Indians and even offered a reward for anyone who provided information that led to John Ryan’s arrest. The governor, however, had as little interest in justice for Indians as Johnson, Croghan, and other imperial officials. A backcountry sheriff suggested to Botetourt that presents might “pacify” the Ohio Indians. Botetourt thought that it was appropriate to seek justice for Indians in Virginia’s courts, but he “disapproved of giving any presents.”25

In any case, the Ohio Indians were in no mood to treat with Botetourt or any other imperial official. Nearly a decade of land theft, habitat destruction at the hands of Virginia long hunters, and finally the Fort Stanwix treaty strained the Ohio Indians’ patience to the uttermost. In 1770, rumors swirled around the Ohio Valley of a great council convened by the Shawnees on the Scioto River. Ever since Pontiac’s War, the towns and native groups of the Ohio Valley maintained political and military relations with one another. All of the region’s native peoples felt betrayed by the Iroquois land cession at their expense and bitterly resented the colonies’ inability to control Anglo-American backcountry dwellers. The Scioto council alarmed Gage and Johnson because the Cherokees, who feared the loss of their Kentucky hunting ground, allied themselves to the Shawnees and other Ohio Indians. Captain Charles Edmonstone, Fort Pitt’s commander, reported to Gage that the Shawnees with whom he interacted were “more Sulky and reserved than usual” and held “Councils and [sent] Belts constantly from one Nation to another.” In his correspondence with Hillsborough, Gage admitted that Johnson’s land-jobbing activities and the unruliness of the Virginians prompted the Scioto council. He also knew that the Ohio Indians stockpiled plenty of ammunition for a destructive backcountry war. Eventually, Allegheny Seneca half-king Guyasuta managed at Johnson’s behest to remove the hatchet from the hands of the Scioto confederates. Removing their grievances was another matter entirely.26

Stringent trade regulations, now the responsibility of the colonies themselves, might have redressed some Indian grievances. For once, the Virginia government even appeared interested in the promulgation of new policies. Two years after Hillsborough ordered the colonies to regulate Indian trade on their own, only New York and Pennsylvania actually complied. In March 1770, Pennsylvania governor John Penn invited Botetourt to send delegates to a proposed conference comprised of the major trading colonies so that they could coordinate their policies. Sir Guy Carleton, governor of Quebec and Cadwallader Colden, the deputy governor of New York, concurred and proposed to meet that July in New York. The House of Burgesses accordingly chose Richard Bland and Patrick Henry to represent Virginia at the conference. When Bland and Henry arrived in New York, however, none of the other provincial delegates had arrived. In fact, they never appeared. According to William Nelson, the president of the Virginia Council and the acting governor, the Virginia deputies remained in New York for three weeks. When the Pennsylvania, New York, and Quebec delegates failed to show, Bland and Henry returned to Virginia. If the other governors ever bothered to send their representatives to New York in the future, Nelson told Hillsborough, the Virginians would return to New York.27

As Bland and Henry sat vainly in New York, Sir William Johnson complained to Hillsborough once again of the dire need for Indian trade regulation. Johnson reported with ill-concealed disgust that the “Licentious Spirit of the Inhabitants on the Southern Frontiers” treated their Ohio Indian neighbors with “Malevolence & disregard to all Treatys.” Even the Iroquois wearied of the violence they faced when they traversed the Virginia backcountry on their way southward to hunt deer and fight Cherokees. At a council that Johnson held with the Six Nations at German Flats, New York, in the summer of 1770, an unidentified Iroquois speaker complained to the superintendent that “our People are frequently Robbed, and Murdered, and no Reparation made for all this” when they hunted and traded in the Ohio country. The speaker thus demanded that “the great King will give Orders to his Governors, and the great Men concerning these Matters,” that something be done to stop the violence against Iroquois hunters in the west. Young warriors among the six Iroquois nations clamored for revenge against Virginians. Clan elders proved able to block the warpath toward Virginia, but they could not continue to do so “unless a Speedy End be put to the Behavior of the People who have so Repeatedly attacked us.”28

Johnson’s and the Iroquois’ complaints prompted Hillsborough to send a circular letter to the governors of Virginia, Quebec, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Maryland to prod them into action on Indian trade regulation. Nelson, the Virginia Council, and the House of Burgesses had tried already, but none of the other provinces appeared interested. By the time Nelson responded to Hillsborough in February 1771, he appeared heartily sick of the issue. Furthermore, backcountry events of the past decade convinced him of the futility of trade regulations anyway. Nelson asked Hillsborough rhetorically, “How can it be expected that any Law, made by the Assemblies to stop the progress of such . . . abuse, that is committed at the Distance of perhaps an hundred miles of any Magistrate, who hath a power to punish, can do it? Yet it is our Duty to try to do something effectual.”29

Every policy initiative intended to regulate Indian trade, appease land speculators or squatters, or curb backcountry violence failed. Likewise, all Parliamentary attempts to find taxes that Americans would pay were also defeated either by a lack of political will or shrill colonial protests. By December 1773, when Boston Sons of Liberty dressed as “Mohawks” dumped 340 chests of East India Company tea into the harbor, Lord North’s colonial policy was in tatters. By the spring of 1774, the series of acts that Lord North and his supporters called “Coercive” and the Americans called “Intolerable” consumed most of Parliament’s attention. Indeed, most Americans initially paid little mind to another bill, the Quebec Act, that Dartmouth introduced into the House of Lords on May 2, 1774. The bill passed the Lords fifteen days later with little fanfare. The Quebec Act turned out to be the final imperial attempt to resolve one of the most intractable American problems faced by the king’s various ministries since the end of the Seven Years’ War: how to curb backcountry lawlessness.30

Admittedly, the Quebec Act’s primary purpose was to provide civil government for the former French colony. The bill’s initial article, and most important provision in relation to the Virginia backcountry, however, extended Quebec’s southern boundary to the Ohio River. Parliament neither altered the boundaries of the older colonies nor eliminated any existing land claims west of the new border. Also critical for the backcountry was Article XI, which established criminal courts based on English common law in the entire province of Quebec, including the new territory annexed to that government by the bill. In the Parliamentary debate over the bill, however, one of America’s staunchest defenders in the House of Commons, Colonel Isaac Barré, noted that the redrawing of the boundary might well deprive Virginians domiciled in the west of the protection of a government in conformity with the British constitution. In defense of the North Ministry, Solicitor General Alexander Wedderburn countered that the very purpose of the boundary extension was to keep Virginians out of the new territory. Wedderburn retorted: “I would not say, ‘cross the Ohio, you will find the Utopia of some great and mighty empire.’ I would say, ‘this is the border, beyond which, for the advantage of the whole empire, you shall not extend yourself.’” Rather than permit the pell-mell settlement of the Ohio Valley of the sort of the preceding decade, Wedderburn preferred to “confine the inhabitants . . . according to the ancient policy of the country, along the line of the sea and river.”31

Lord North also pointed to the need to extend civil government to the Indian territory in his defense of the Quebec Act. North’s spokesman was William Knox, an undersecretary in the American Department. The prime minister brought Knox into his government back in 1770 not only because of his skill as a pamphleteer, but also because the new undersecretary had American experience as a former planter and councilor in Georgia. As an official in the American Department, however, Knox was intimately familiar with the problems that Hillsborough and his successor, Lord Dartmouth, confronted in the backcountry. He also attended many of the sessions in which Dartmouth promulgated British policy toward America. Initially, Knox noted, the Royal Proclamation of 1763 had been written to prepare the ground for “a general plan for the regulation of the trade with the savages.” “To give the plan uniformity and effect,” Knox continued, “it was thought necessary to exclude all the provinces from jurisdiction in the interior or Indian country.” The Board of Trade’s initial idea was to place all Indian trade under Crown authority and then to tax Americans to pay for licensing and enforcement. Americans, of course, rebelled against the Stamp Act, the Townshend Revenue Act, and all other efforts to collect revenue to support the defense establishment in the colonies. Thus, the idea collapsed.32

Knox conceded that what had happened before the Quebec bill’s passage could not be reversed, but it might be prevented in the future. Before the act, trespassers entered forbidden territory at will and built their settlements wherever they wished and regardless of any law. “As no civil jurisdiction reached these intruders upon the King’s waste, and as their numbers increased every day,” Knox argued, the Ohio Indians gathered their villages and removed further west due to the outrages of their homicidal Anglo-American neighbors. With the Quebec Act, however, Virginians that crossed the Ohio could be punished in a criminal court for their transgression. That, according to Knox, was the reason for the decision to extend Quebec’s boundary to the Ohio.33

It was one thing to extend the border; enforcement was another matter entirely, as both the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the Fort Stanwix treaty demonstrated amply. One way to enforce the new boundary was to make life in the new Quebec an unpalatable, inhospitable place for potential Anglo-American backcountry squatters. Although the primary purpose of the act’s grant of toleration to French Canadian Roman Catholics was to provide freedom of conscience to the majority of the province’s population, Lord North’s parliamentary managers hoped that the anti-popery sentiments of the backcountry’s primarily dissenting residents might compel them to stay out of the province. In addition, the continuance of French civil law in all property matters and the accompanying pledge to maintain the seigneurial system in all of Quebec promised to complicate frontiersmen’s attempts to claim, improve, and patent lands north and west of the Ohio. Finally, the creation of a government unresponsive to popular will and lacking a legislature might also have convinced liberty-loving backcountry Virginians to remain on the right bank of the river.34

The Quebec Act’s fiscal companion, the Quebec Revenue Act, which strangely escaped significant attention by the incipient American revolutionaries, suggested another way to keep rogue traders at bay. The act established duties on liquor imported into Quebec from Britain, the West Indies, and the British colonies to the south. Sugar and molasses were also taxed. The new act required anyone who transported liquor into Quebec to repair to customs posts on either the St. Lawrence or Sorel Rivers to pay the appropriate duty, posts remote from the Ohio Valley, the preferred mart for the traders’ most insidious commodity. Thus, the inconvenience of such a demand as well as a demonstrated reluctance by Americans to pay any taxes virtually guaranteed that Virginia and Pennsylvania traders would break the new law. Furthermore, if the remoteness of the customs posts failed to discourage unlicensed traders, then the penalties prescribed by the bill might have. Violators risked the confiscation of their goods and the conveyances used to transport them in addition to a steep fine that equaled the trebled value of the seized property. If the new provisions worked as designed, then the Quebec Revenue Act would not only discourage illegal trade but also reduce the cost of law enforcement in the Ohio Valley precipitously.35

Due in large part to its impediment to American expansion, the Quebec Act met with serious opposition once news of it arrived in the colonies in the late summer of 1774. Indeed, as the First Continental Congress met in the autumn of 1774 to consider a united American response to the Coercive Acts, the assembly’s Articles of Association made it clear that the Quebec Act was also one of their major grievances against Parliament and George III. When they justified their creation of the Continental Association, their nonimportation and nonexportation agreement aimed at British merchants, the Congress alleged that the extension of Quebec’s boundary and the act’s religious provisions threatened to deprive Americans, particularly Virginians and Pennsylvanians, of what they believed was their birthright: western land. According to the Articles of Association, one of the primary results of the Quebec Act and “establishing an arbitrary government therein” was to discourage “the settlement of British subjects in that wide extended country.” The Congress also believed that the British would use the newly mollified Canadians as cudgels to pound the colonies into submission to parliamentary authority.36

The Quebec Act particularly offended the Virginia delegation to the Continental Congress. Richard Henry Lee, one of the legal heirs to the old Ohio Company, noted in a memorial to the inhabitants of the British colonies that French law superseded English law, Roman Catholicism had been legally established, “and the limits of that province are extended so as to comprehend those vast regions, that be adjoining to the northerly and westerly boundaries of these colonies.” New York delegate James Duane asserted in his personal notes of the Philadelphia proceedings that both Lee and Patrick Henry believed that the Quebec Act was the “capital” grievance against the British. “Lee thinks it the worst grievance,” Duane noted, because lands in Quebec were “held by military tenure” and the act gave “Ohio for a boundary.” That Henry and Lee either owned or desired western land undoubtedly influenced their opposition to the Quebec Act, but they also recognized that, if the act went into force, then the colonies would be forever tied to the Atlantic seaboard.37

As the First Continental Congress met, however, Virginia’s last royal governor, John Murray, fourth Earl of Dunmore, secured Virginia’s western future. In the spring of 1774, backcountry Virginia thugs led by the notorious Indian hater Daniel Greathouse slaughtered the family of the Ohio Iroquois half-king Logan. A decade of frauds and insults, as well as the murder of Logan’s Shawnee wife and his children, inspired a ritual revenge in the Ohio Indians. Shawnee attacks prompted Dunmore to march into the Ohio Valley to complete what the initial backcountry squatters began: the clearance of the Old Dominion’s territory of its native inhabitants. In the fall of 1774, Dunmore led a Virginia army across the Ohio and into the territory ceded to Quebec to burn out Shawnee towns on the Scioto River. Meanwhile, another Virginia army commanded by Colonel Andrew Lewis traversed the Greenbrier and Kanawha valleys and then fought the last battle of the colonial period against Shawnee war chief Cornstalk. Both Dunmore and Lewis emerged victorious. Virginians had stymied British policymakers yet again. By the time the Quebec Act went into effect on May 1, 1775, Massachusetts minutemen had already fired shots in anger at King George’s regulars at Lexington and Concord. The Second Continental Congress would soon meet and create the Continental Army and select Virginian George Washington to command it.38

Ultimately, the American Revolution invalidated the Quebec Act before it took effect. The act was, nonetheless, a novel attempt to solve the intractable problem of frontier violence and to guarantee to the Ohio Indians lands that had been promised to them in return for their aid during the Seven Years’ War. As far as Americans were concerned, their eventual victory over Great Britain in the Revolutionary War and the Treaty of Paris that granted independence and an expansive western boundary to the United States meant that they had secured the unquestioned right to settle the Ohio Valley and beyond—the lands that Parliament had assigned to Quebec. The Shawnees, Miamis, and other native groups of what Americans now labeled the “Old Northwest” disagreed, however. Unlike their British protectors, the Indians remained undefeated and committed to an American boundary at the Ohio River. Thus, backcountry settlers and Indians alike endured another decade of homicidal rage until General Anthony Wayne’s Legion of the United States defeated the Miami-Shawnee-led pan-Indian alliance at the 1794 Battle of Fallen Timbers and then made peace with them at the 1795 Treaty of Greenville.


This article was previously published in West Virginia History, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2009.

1 Quebec Act, 14 George III, c. 83, in Statutes, Treaties, and Documents of the Canadian Constitution, 1713-1929, edited by W. P. M. Kennedy (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1930), 138, 140 (hereafter cited as SCC).

2 Braddock quoted in Michael N. McConnell, A Country Between: The Upper Ohio Valley and Its Peoples, 1724-1774 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992), 119; Fred Anderson, Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000), 281-84. Throughout this article, I use the generic term “Ohio Indians” to describe all of the native inhabitants of the Ohio River watershed.

3 George Washington to Francis Fauquier, Dec. 2, 1758, The Official Papers of Francis Fauquier, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, 1758-1768, edited by George H. Reese (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1980-1983), 1:117-18 (hereafter cited as PFF); Fauquier to the Board of Trade, Jan. 30, 1759, ibid., 165-66; Jack Sosin, Whitehall and the Wilderness: The Middle West in British Colonial Policy, 1760-1775 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1961), 43-44.

4 Henry Bouquet to Robert Monckton, Mar. 20, 1761, in The Papers of Henry Bouquet, edited by Donald H. Kent, Autumn L. Leonard, and Sylvester K. Stevens (Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1951-), 5:354-55 (hereafter cited as Bouquet Papers); Bouquet to Monckton, Apr. 22, 1761, ibid., 437; Angus McDonald to Bouquet, Oct. 25, 1761, ibid., 840.

5 Bouquet Proclamation against Settlers, Oct. 30, 1761, Bouquet Papers, 5:844; Bouquet to James Livingston, Oct. 31, 1761, ibid., 847.

6 Charles, Earl of Egremont to the Board of Trade, May 5, 1763, in Documents Relating to the Constitutional History of Canada, 1759-1791, 2 vols., edited by Adam Shortt and Arthur G. Doughty (Ottawa: J. de L. Taché, 1918), 1:128 (hereafter cited as DRCHC).

7 Board of Trade to Egremont, June 8, 1763, DRCHC, 1:139-40, emphasis in the quote is mine.

8 The Board of Trade preferred to claim western lands through Britain’s historic “Covenant Chain” alliance with the Six Nations of the Iroquois because, if they lost a war against France in the future, then French diplomats could not claim the trans-Appalachian West at the peace table by right of conquest because Britain’s “title” to the region had already been established.

9 Egremont to the Lords of Trade, July 14, 1763, DRCHC, 147-48; Board of Trade Report, Aug. 5, 1763, ibid., 151-52.

10 Royal Proclamation, Oct. 7, 1763, ibid., 167-68.

11 Board of Trade Plan for Indian Affairs, June 15, 1764, PFF, 3:1110-12.

12 Board of Trade Circular Letter to the Colonies, July 10, 1764, ibid., 3:1110; Board of Trade to Sir William Johnson, July 10, 1764, ibid., 1119-20; Board of Trade Plan for Indian Affairs, June 15, 1764, ibid., 1116.

13 Fauquier to the Board of Trade, May 26, 1765, ibid., 3:1243; Thomas Gage to Johnson, June 22, 1766, in The Papers of Sir William Johnson, edited by Albert B. Corey, Alexander C. Flick, Milton W. Hamilton, Almon W. Lauber, and James Sullivan, 14 vols. (Albany: University of the State of New York Press, 1921-), 12:111-12 (hereafter cited as PSWJ); Fauquier to Board of Trade, May 22, 1766, PFF, 3:1362.

14 Johnson to Gage, June 27, 1766, PSWJ, 12:115-16; Alexander Mackay’s summons, June 22, 1766, PFF, 3:1407; Johnson to the Board of Trade, June 28, 1766, British Public Records Office (Virginia Colonial Records Project), Colonial Office Series 5, vol. 66, 337-38.

15 Earl of Shelburne to Fauquier, Sept. 13, 1766, PFF, 3:1386-87; Fauquier to Shelburne, Nov. 18, 1766, ibid., 1394; Shelburne to Fauquier, Feb. 19, 1767, ibid., 1429-30.

16 Gage to Shelburne, June 13, 1767, in The Correspondence of General Thomas Gage, edited by Clarence E. Carter, 2 vols.(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1931), 1:142 (hereafter cited as Gage Correspondence); George Croghan to Johnson, Oct. 18, 1767, PSWJ, 5:737; Johnson to Gage, Jan. 8, 1768, ibid., 12:407.

17 Earl of Hillsborough to Gage, Apr. 15, 1768, Gage Correspondence, 1:61.

18 Patrick Griffin, American Leviathan: Empire, Nation, and Revolutionary Frontier (New York: Hill and Wang, 2007), 52-53, 60.

19 Gregory Evans Dowd, War under Heaven: Pontiac, the Indian Nations, and the British Empire (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), 242-44.

20 Board of Trade to Shelburne, Dec. 23, 1767, in Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New-York, edited by John Romeyn Brodhead, Berthold Fernow, and E. B. O’Callaghan, 15 vols.(Albany: Weed, Parsons, and Company, 1853-1883), 7:1004-5; Shelburne to Johnson, Jan. 5, 1768, ibid., 8:2.

21 Council minute, Mar. 10 1768, in Executive Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia, 6 vols., edited by H. R. McIlwaine, Wilmer L. Hall, and Benjamin J. Hillman (Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1924-), 6:287-88 (hereafter cited as EJCCV); John Blair to Johnson, Mar. 10, 1768, PSWJ, 6:143-44.

22 Council minute, June 15, 1768, EJCCV, 6:292-93; Ray A. Billington, “The Fort Stanwix Treaty of 1768,” New York History 25 (1944): 190-91.

23 Billington, “Fort Stanwix Treaty of 1768,” 189-90; Sosin, Whitehall and the Wilderness, 175-78; James Donald Anderson, “Vandalia: The First West Virginia?” West Virginia History 40 (Summer 1978): 375-92.

24 Peter Marshall, “Lord Hillsborough, Samuel Wharton, and the Ohio Grant, 1769-1775,” English Historical Review 80 (Oct. 1965): 717-19.

25 Council minute, Oct. 3, 1769, EJCCV, 6:327-28; for the “Black Boys,” see Dowd, War under Heaven, 203-10, and Griffin, American Leviathan, 74-77; final quote, Council minute, Dec.13, 1769, EJCCV, 6:337. Since the Delawares, Shawnees, the Six Nations of the Iroquois, and most other eastern native groups believed that gifts indicated the sincerity of the speaker’s words, Botetourt’s refusal to send presents rendered anything that he had to say meaningless.

26 Gage to Hillsborough, Nov. 12, 1770, Gage Correspondence, 1:281-82; Woody Holton, “The Ohio Indians and the Coming of the American Revolution in Virginia,” Journal of Southern History 60 (Aug. 1994): 460.

27 John Penn to Norborne Berkeley, Lord Botetourt, Mar. 5, 1770, in The Correspondence of William Nelson as Acting Governor of Virginia, 1770-1771, edited by John C. Van Horne(Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1975), 107; Botetourt to Penn, Mar. 24, 1770, ibid; Penn to Botetourt, Apr. 21, 1770, ibid., 108; Sir Guy Carleton to Cadwallader Colden, Mar. 13, 1770, ibid.; Colden to Penn, Apr. 16, 1770, ibid., 109; Extracts from House of Burgesses Journal, May 21, 22, and 30, 1770, ibid., 111-12; William Nelson to Hillsborough, Feb. 5, 1771, ibid., 105-6. All of the documents here were enclosed in Nelson’s letter to Hillsborough. Nelson became acting governor due to Botetourt’s death in April 1770.

28 Extract from Sir William Johnson to the Secretary of State, Aug. 14, 1770, Correspondence of William Nelson, 70-71; Extract from Proceedings of Indian Conference, July 1770, ibid., 72-73.

29 From the Secretary of State (Circular), Nov. 15, 1770, ibid., 69; Nelson to Hillsborough, Feb. 5, 1771, ibid., 106.

30 Memorandum on Government of Quebec, DRCHC, 1:531n.

31 Quebec Act, 14 George III, c. 83, SCC, 137, 139; Debates in the British Parliament on the Quebec Act, 1774, ibid., 103, 107.

32 William Knox, The justice and policy of the late act of Parliament, for making more effectual provision for the government of the province of Quebec, asserted and proved (London, 1774), 39-40, accessed Mar. 6, 2008,

33 Knox, Justice and policy, 42.

34 Third Draught of the Quebec Bill, DRCHC, 1:545; Lord Hillsborough’s Objections to the Quebec Bill in Its Present Form, ibid., 552; Dartmouth to Hillsborough, May 1, 1774, ibid., 554; Quebec Act, ibid., 574; David Milobar, “Quebec Reform, the British Constitution, and the Atlantic Empire: 1774-1775,” Parliamentary History 14 (Feb. 1995): 70-71.

35 Quebec Revenue Act, 14 George III, c. 88, SCC, 140-42; Milobar, “Quebec Reform,” 73.

36 Articles of Association, Oct. 20, 1774, in Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., 34 vols. (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1904-1937), 1:76.

37 Richard Henry Lee’s memorial to the inhabitants of the British Colonies, Journals of the Continental Congress, 1:99; James Duane’s notes on debates in the Continental Congress, Oct. 14, 1774, in Letters of Members of the Continental Congress, edited by Edward C. Burnett, 8 vols. (Washington, DC: Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1921-1936),1:75, 78.

38 Anthony F. C. Wallace, Jefferson and the Indians: The Tragic Fate of the First Americans (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), 4; Eric Hinderaker, Elusive Empires: Constructing Colonialism in the Ohio Valley, 1673-1800 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 192-93; John Murray, Lord Dunmore, to Colonel Andrew Lewis, July 12, 1774, in Documentary History of Dunmore’s War, edited by Louise Phelps Kellogg and Reuben Gold Thwaites (Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society, 1905), 86.