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between certain parts of England. Lord Hillsborough had said that if the settlers were crowded in the north, they might occupy some of the unoccupied lands in eastern or western Florida, at that time in British possession. Franklin made the objection that this could not be done because of the pestilential nature of the regions in the south. This was incorrect, as subsequent experience has shown, but he rightly understood and explained the tendency of a people to migrate along the same, or nearly the same parallel of latitude, and asserted that Vandalia, not Florida, was the natural place for the overflow of the population of the Middle States. He called attention to the fact that already there were settlements in this section, and that they needed some government other than the very loose connection with the nearest colony on the seaboard. They needed a strong government, such as they could have only when formed into a separate colony. Franklin's reply was so convincing that when the matter was voted upon in 1772, the petition of the Walpole Company was granted, but before the project could be carried out the impending Revolution made it impossible.
But settlers had not waited for the consummation of the Walpole plan. While there were great difficulties because of the mountains in the south, the advance westward in Pennsylvania by the branches of the Ohio was a very easy one, and settlements were begun on the Monongahela by 1770; and when Franklin presented his statement to the Board of Trade he was able to state that already five thousand families were in the West on Ohio River, and besides these there were several thousand families settled on the western lands claimed by Pennsylvania.
Another indication of the westward growth of population is given in the petition of the people between the mountains and Scioto River to be formed into a separate State. They asked Congress in 1776 that they might have an independent government free from the uncertainties caused by rival States claiming jurisdiction over them. They also wished
to be free from the control of various land companies. In this request they claimed that this new State which, if their limits were allowed, would include lands claimed by Virginia and Pennsylvania and a part of Kentucky, had already a population of twenty-five thousand. This was probably an exaggeration, but taken with Franklin's estimate shows a very rapid growth of population in the Ohio valley.
Another of the pre-revolutionary companies was the Susquehanna Company, of Connecticut. By 1750 the colony of Connecticut was crowded with inhabitants and the people turned toward the western lands for relief, especially to that part of the West under the Connecticut charter. Returning travellers brought enthusiastic reports of the fertility of the eastern end of the Susquehanna valley, which at that time was supposed to be a part of the colony of Connecticut. Under the American news from Connecticut the following note appeared in the London Magazine for July 27, 1753:
"Several hundred people of this Colony have agreed to purchase a large tract of land of the Six Nations of Indians on the Susquehanna River, about three hundred leagues to the westward, lying within the bounds of their charter to settle upon it, expecting that it will be in a short time a distinct government.”
This company was formed at Windham, Connecticut, July 18, 1753, and articles of agreement were signed by two hundred and fifty subscribers. The company began its career amid great enthusiasm. The price of the shares quickly advanced from two Spanish milled dollars to nine. The Connecticut colonies invested heavily in this company formed "to enlarge his Majesties English Settlements in North America, and further to spread Christianity, as also to promote our own temporal interests." The land purchased of the Indians for £2,000 comprised an area of sixty miles in breadth, north and south, by about one hundred and thirty miles east and west, between parallels forty-one and forty-two, and bounded on the east by a line
Laws of the Illinois Territory and of the territory northwest of the river Ohio. Originals in possession of the Chicago Historical Society.
parallel to Susquehanna River, and always ten miles distant therefrom. After preparations had been fully made, settlement was delayed because of the hostilities leading up to the French and Indian War. The one exception to this was the settlement near the present site of Wilkesbarre, in 1762, which was destroyed by the Indians. There arose serious questions about the title to the land, whether it belonged to Pennsylvania or to Connecticut. In view of this uncertainty emigration came to a standstill. After waiting till 1768 and not being able to come to any agreement, armed conflict for the possession of the country broke out between the settlers from Pennsylvania and Connecticut. This continued with more or less uncertainty and violence till 1787, when the war within the State was brought to an end. The question of jurisdiction was finally settled in 1790 in favor of Pennsylvania.
The pre-Revolutionary land companies were important in the encouragement they gave settlers, but most of them, like the Susquehanna Company, came to grief. A much greater work was done by those organized after 1783. Permanent settlements were formed by them and the foundations laid for cities and future States.
The most important of these companies was the Ohio Company of Associates. Its influence was so great upon the settlement of the West that a somewhat full account of it is necessary. When the Revolutionary War was nearing its close, the question prominent in the minds of soldiers and officers was,-what were they to do when the time came for them to return to peaceful occupations? Some of them had been in the field for seven years. They were in deep poverty, and knew not how they were to make a living when the time came for them to return to their homes. Many of them were broken in health because of continued privations. These men had been paid for their services in the Revolution with securities which were almost worthless, and Congress had no money with which to satisfy them. The only resource it had at the close of the