Freed from the fear of French attack after the peace of 1763, the thirteen colonies declared their independence. Against the wishes of Spain, and even against the pressure of her French ally in the Revolutionary War, the United States secured from England by the treaty of 1783〖H. C., xliii, 174.〗 boundaries which extended along the Great Lakes, west to the Mississippi, and south to Florida, as well as the free navigation of the Mississippi. Spain recovered from Britain Florida which she had conquered in the course of the war.

But these boundaries were only paper rights, for England failed to give up her posts on the Great Lakes, alleging the neglect of the United States to carry out the provisions of the treaty in regard to loyalists and debts, and Canadian officials encouraged the Indians across the Ohio to resist the advance of the Americans. In similar fashion on the southwest Spain denied the right of England to convey to the Union the territory between the Alleghenies and the Mississippi, and withheld the navigation of the river by means of her possession of New Orleans. She also, in the period of the weak confederation, intrigued with leaders of the Kentucky and Tennessee settlements to withdraw them from the Union; and, like England, she used her influence over the Indians to restrain the American advance.

While Indian wars were in progress north of the Ohio during Washington’s administration, the French Revolution broke out, and England feared not only that the American expeditions against the Indians were in reality directed against the posts which she retained on the Great Lakes, but also that the United States would aid France in a general attack on her. Breaking her historic alliance with Spain, the French Republic, in 1783, tried to involve, first the Government of the United States and then the western frontiersmen in attacks upon Florida and Louisiana.

These were the critical conditions which in 1794 resulted in Jay’s mission and treaty by which England agreed to give up the western posts.

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