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Run-Ins Between the 13 Colonies and Britain

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发表于 9-21-2014 17:35:44 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Brendan Simms, Before the Shot Heard ‘Round the World: In 1771, the British supreme commander, Gen. Thomas Gage, had only 6,000 men to secure an entire continent. Wall Street Journal, Sept 21, 2014
online.wsj.com/articles/book-review-an-empire-on-the-edge-by-nick-bunker-1411162937
(book review on Nick Bunker, An Empire on the Edge; How Britain Came to Fight America. Knopf, 2014)

My comment:
(a) “Mr Bunker begins his chronicle in the summer of 1771 at Fort de Chartres, the westernmost outpost of the empire, situated on the banks of the Mississippi River in what is now Illinois. Marooned in hostile Indian country, poorly maintained and garrisoned, the fort was crumbling into the river. The supreme commander in North America, Gen. Thomas Gage, who had only 6,000 men to secure the whole continent, recommended that the place be abandoned along with the rest of the wilderness. In the spring of 1772, the last Redcoats evacuated the fort, never to return. ‘The orderly withdrawal that General Gage intended soon became a rout,’ Mr Bunker writes, ‘as even bases he meant to keep fell apart for lack of money to maintain them.’"
(i) Fort de Chartres
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_de_Chartres
(first built in 1720 [by French; located four miles (6 km) west of [present-day] City of Prairie du Rocher, Illinois[, south of St Louis]; The name of the fort honored Louis, duc de Chartres [1703-1752], son of the Regent of France)

Quote: “In 1763 the Treaty of Paris was signed following the Seven Years' War (French and Indian War) and the French transferred control of the Illinois Country to Great Britain. * * * With the Royal Proclamation of 1763, the British Crown declared almost all of the land between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River from Florida to Newfoundland an Indian Reserve.

* Treaty of Paris (1763)
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Paris_(1763)
(During the war, Britain had conquered the French colonies of Canada [and other territories]; In the treaty: France ceded Canada, "France also ceded the eastern half of French Louisiana to Britain; that is, the area from the Mississippi River to the Appalachian Mountains. Spain ceded Florida to Britain")
(ii) Thomas Gage
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Gage
(1719 or 1720 – 1787)

(b) "Mr Bunker provides an especially lucid portrait of the woes of the East India Co., a privately owned company * * * In these years the company was racked by escalating debts that were masked by misleading balance sheets, and it was increasingly vexed by its glut of unsellable tea. * * * We all know about the Tea Party itself, but how many historians trace the story back, as Mr Bunker does, to the tea plantations of China, where the East India Co was engaged in a series of audacious financial adventures to maximize production? * * * The East India Co's investments in China [in more tea plantations led] to oversupply and a desperate need for North American markets

Boston Tea Party
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Tea_Party
(“For these and other reasons, by late 1772 the East India Company, one of Britain's most important commercial institutions, was in a serious financial crisis. * * * The best market for the East India Company's surplus tea, so it seemed, was the American colonies * * * Tea Act [of 1773] would allow the East India Company [directly, for the first time, to North American colonies, instead of to London and letting middlemen to ship and sell in the colonies] to sell tea more cheaply than before, undercutting the prices offered by smugglers, but also undercutting [legitimate] colonial tea importers, who paid the tax and received no refund. * * * Colonial merchants, some of them smugglers, played a significant role in the protests. Because the Tea Act made legally imported tea cheaper, it threatened to put smugglers of Dutch tea out of business)

(c) “London, in turn, was feeling frustration with the refusal of Americans to pay anything approaching their share of the cost of defense, as evidenced by their stubborn opposition to the Stamp Act and Townsend duties.”

This sentence suggests colonists paid little tax. This is something new to me.
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