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Ohio land Company, the

Soon after the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle an association of London merchants and Vir ginia land speculators, known as “The Ohio land Company,” obtained from the crown a grant of 500,000 acres of land on the east bank of the Ohio River, with the exclusive privilege of the Indian traffic International, or at least intercolonial, disputes immediately occurred. The French claimed, by right of discovery, the whole region watered by the tributaries of the Mississippi River. The English set up a claim, in the name of the Six Nations, as under British protection, and which was recognized by the treaties of Utrecht (1713) and Aix-la-Chapelle (1748), to the region which they had formerly conquered, and which included the whole eastern portion of the Mississippi Valley and the basin of the lower lakes, Erie and Ontario. These conflict ing claims at once embarrassed the operations of the Ohio Land Company. It was provided by their charter that they were to pay no quit-rent for ten years; to colonize at least 100 families within seven years;

General Putnam's land office at Marietta.

and, at their own cost, to build and garrison a fort. The government was anxious to carry out this scheme of colonization west of the Alleghany Mountains to counteract the evident designs of the French to occupy that country.

The French took immediate measures to countervail the English movements. Galissoniere, who had grand dreams of French empire in America, fitted out an expedition under Celeron de Bienville in 1749 to proclaim French dominion at various points along the Ohio. The company took measures for defining and occupying their domain. Thomas Lee, two of the Washingtons, and other leading Virginia members ordered goods suitable for the Indian trade to be sent from London. The company sent an agent to explore the country and confer with the Indian tribes; and in June, 1752, a conference was held at Logstown, near the Ohio, and friendly relations were established between the English and the Indians. But the Western tribes refused to recognize the right of either the English or the French to lands westward of the Alleghany Mountains. A Delaware chief said to Gist, the agent of the company, “The French claim all the land on one side of the river, and the English claim all the land on the other side of the river: where is the Indian's land?” This significant question was answered by Gist: “Indians and white men are subjects of the British King, and all have an equal privilege in taking up and [14] possessing the land.” The company sent surveyors to make definite boundaries. English settlers and traders went into the country. The jealousy of the French was aroused. They seized and imprisoned some of the surveyors and traders, and built forts. The French and Indian War that broke out soon afterwards put a stop to the operations of the company. See French and Indian War; Ohio Company.

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