Ohio History Journal

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In Dr. Quaife's announcement of plans for the Maumee Val-

ley International Historical Convention, I found the title and the

theme for my address this evening. The purpose of the Conven-

tion, in the words of its general chairman, is "to cultivate and

deepen our pride in the historical heritage which is the common

possession of . . . four great commonwealths . . ."; and "to

assemble in pleasant association men and women of good will, rep-

resenting the two great North American democracies, on the

scenes of their ancient battlegrounds, there to strengthen the ties

of peace and concord which now for a century and a quarter have

maintained inviolate the world's longest unguarded frontier."

We meet on historic ground. The area to be traversed by

the historical pilgrimage which begins here in Toledo tonight was

one of the ancient battlegrounds in the long struggle between

Britain and France for possession of the interior of America.

Long-standing enmities, arising from the rivalries of European

diplomacy, were transferred in the 18th century to the New World,

where the interlocking and overlapping of colonial claims furnished

new causes for conflict. More than two centuries ago, the French

founded posts and settlements on the Wabash and along the

northern tributaries of the Ohio, and by the 1740's, they claimed

the whole Ohio and Great Lakes basin. In their birch canoes,

French fur traders floated down these lakes and forest streams

and established supply bases at such strategic points as Detroit

and developed little farms near-by to furnish pork and beans and

corn-meal for the French voyageurs. British fur traders, on the

other hand, tried hard to divert the fur trade of the Great Lakes

region from Montreal and Quebec to British posts, and the fur

trade, with all its attendant advantages and evils, became an im-

portant factor in the deadly rivalry between the English and