Ohio History Journal

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Historian, Anthony Wayne Parkway Board


The Paris peace treaty of 1783 which officially ended the war

between the kingdom of Great Britain and her rebellious American

colonies, and which established what were supposedly internationally

recognized boundary lines between British Canada and the newly

independent American states, was considered at the very beginning

by the British as but a tenuous piece of international diplomacy.

Britain felt confident in 1783 that, given time, the erring Atlantic

states would return to the fold.

Had not the British government felt pressures from British

America, it probably would have waited patiently for the expected

bid of the former colonies to return to British control and super-

vision. Complaints and angry cries of merchants, fur traders, and

the royal exchequer came almost as soon as the treaty provisions

were made known. These parties, interested in the profits de-

rived from the Canadian fur trade, immediately castigated the

the treaty-makers, and pointed out vehemently that this trade would

be greatly lost if British control were removed from the territory

north and west of the Ohio River. So strong were these pressures,

and so angry the protests, that on April 8, 1784, the very day

before George III proclaimed the treaty of peace ratified, an

order was issued from the office of the secretary of state for home

affairs to "hold the posts" within the agreed boundaries of the

new United States of America.1

It is not known whether the United States was aware of this

order at the time. Until the adoption of the new American con-

stitution in 1789, it made little difference to the American Re-

public, riven as it was with interstate strife and the bungling,

ineffective national government of the Confederation. Thus the

British maintained their posts within the borders of the United States,

and kept their administrative control over these areas and the


1 Samuel F. Bemis, Jay's Treaty (New York, 1923), 6.