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MICHIGAN CHAPTER 17

Close of the Revolution and Surrender of Michigan to the United States

Haldimand wrote in a respectful tone to the effect that he could not consider the matter of vacating these posts in the absence of positive orders from his majesty. New York and Charleston were evacuated in November, 1783, and the continental army was immediately disbanded. In spite of the claim by congress for the actual possession of the western country, in spite of the agitation on the part of officials of our government for the carrying out of the treaty in good faith, the British government took no action whatever. Governor Haldimand shielded himself behind his lack of instructions, and so matters remained for a long time in this unsatisfactory condition.
There is some ground for belief that this was a deliberate policy, founded upon the expectation or hope that something might turn up in the interests of Great Britain through which that government could continue its occupancy indefinitely. It is known that Washington harbored some such idea. There were still opportunities for complications in the new state of affairs between the two countries. No one could forsee what questions might arise or whither the course of events might lead. There were plenty of emissaries of Great Britain working among the Indian tribes, seeking to bind them to British interests and to solidify a naturally unfriendly feeling against Americans. This very feeling of the Indians was offered as a pretext for maintaining an armed force in the country. It was argued that the safety of the whites could only be assured by the presence of a strong military guard. This the United States had not undertaken to supply. Hence it devolved upon Great Britain to preserve the peace. In view of the known efforts to foment Indian hostility this argument was transparently deceptive.

MICHIGAN


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