treaty. /To Jay belongs the chief credit for putting in
motion the train of events which ended in the attainment
of this object. He deserves to be called, as John Adams
called him, the hero of the negotiations. 11 ^ Of Spanish
designs on the Mississippi, Oswald, and, no doubt, Shel-
burne, believed that they had evidence, and the premier
probably felt that a separate treaty which would give up
the West to the United States was preferable to a general
treaty which would abandon it to Spain.
^There remains another consideration to explain the relin-
quishment of Illinois and the rest of the West by Great
Britain. To me it seems the decisive factor in the case.
The enjoyment and monopolization of the peltry trade was
the leading object which Great Britain sought through her
possession of that territory. In this purpose she had failed.
Her chief motive for holding the country no longer
existed. In a debate in the House of Lords in February,
1783, critics of the peace asserted that by the boundaries
conceded to the United States Great Britain had lost the
fur trade. 120 Shelburne, defending the treaty which his
ministry had made, pointed out that the fur trade was not
abandoned, but only divided. He placed the annual imports
from Canada to England at only 50,000, and declared that
the preservation of this import of 50,000 had cost England
800,000. 121 Secretary Townshend declared in the Com-
mons that the possession of the Northwest had not been
profitable. 122 "Suppose," said Shelburne, "the entire fur
trade sunk into the sea, where is the detriment to this
18 Sparks, op. cit., VI, 501.
20 Par. Hist, of Eng., XXIII, 377, 381.
n Jhid Ann
1 Ibid., 409.
* Ibid., 465.
140 TRANSITION IN ILLINOIS.
country? Is 50,000 a year imported in that article
any object for Great Britain to continue a war of which
the people of England by their representatives have declared
their abhorrence?" Great Britain abandoned only that
which it was unprofitable for her to retain^V
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