May 2, 2024

Episode 7: The Divide

With a blueprint in place for transforming British America into an empire of order, George III's government begins sending an army of cartographers to map North America, while diplomats in the colonies open negotiations with native nations to draw a...

With a blueprint in place for transforming British America into an empire of order, George III's government begins sending an army of cartographers to map North America, while diplomats in the colonies open negotiations with native nations to draw a boundary line between British and Indigenous America. 

Featuring: Max Edelson, Maeve Kane, and Alexandra Montgomery

Voice Actors: Amber Pelham, Nate Sleeter, James Craggs, Luke Jenson-Jones, and Beau Robbins

Narrated by Jim Ambuske.

This episode is made possible with support from the Virginia American Revolution 250 Commission.

Worlds Turned Upside Down is a production of R2 Studios at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.

Further Reading:

Fred Anderson, The Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754 - 1766 (2001).

Andrew D. M. Beaumont, Colonial America and the Earl of Halifax, 1748-1761 (2015).

Louis De Dorsey, Jr., The Indian Boundary in the Southern Colonies, 1763-1775 (1966).

Gregory Evans Dowd, War Under Heaven: Pontiac, the Indian Nations, and the British Empire (2004).

Kathleen DuVal, Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution (2016).

S. Max Edelson, The New Map of Empire: How Britain Imagined America before Independence (2017).

Maps and visualizations for S. Max Edelson, The New Map of Empire:  How Britain Imagined America before Independence.

Karl Hele, "Treaty of Niagara, 1764." The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada. Article published January 11, 2021; Last Edited January 11, 2021.

Elizabeth Hornor, “Intimate Enemies: Captivity and Colonial Fear of Indians in the Mid-Eighteenth Century Wars.” Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies 82, no. 2 (2015): 162–85.

Stephen J. Hornsby, Surveyors of Empire: Samuel Holland, J.F.W. Des Barres, and the Making of the Atlantic Neptune (2011).

Maeve Kane, Shirts Powdered Red: Haudenosaunee Gender, Trade, and Exchange across Three Centuries (2023).

Jane T. Merritt, At the Crossroads: Indians and Empires on a Mid-Atlantic Frontier, 1700-1763 (2011).

Earle Lockerby, “The Deportation of the Acadians from Ile St. -Jean, 1758.” Acadiensis 27, no. 2 (1998): 45–94.

John Oliphant, Peace and War on the Anglo-Cherokee Frontier, 1756–63 (2001). 

Shawn Scott and Tod Scott, "Noel Doiron and the East Hants Acadians." Journal of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society 11, (2008): 45-VIII.

John Shy, Toward Lexington: The Role of the British Army in the Coming of the American Revolution (1965).

J. Russell Snapp, John Stuart and the Struggle for Empire on the Southern Frontier (1996).

Talking Treaties, "The 1764 Treaty of Niagara."

The Canadian Encyclopedia, "Treaties with Indigenous Peoples in Canada." The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada. Article published June 06, 2011; Last Edited September 11, 2017.

Primary Sources:

Benjamin West, The Indians delivering up the English captives to Colonel Bouquet near his camp at the forks of the Muskingum in North America in Novr. 1764, Library of Congress,

"By the Commissioners for Executing the Office of Lord High Admiral of Great Britain and Ireland, c. 1761" in Archibald Day, The Admiralty Hydrographic Service, 1785-1919 (1967).

George III: By the King, A Proclamation, 7 October 1763
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

George Washington to William Crawford, 17 September 1767,” Founders Online, National Archives,

Henry Bouquet to John Bradstreet, 15 November 1764, in The Papers of Col. Henry Bouquet (Vol. 15: 1943).

Lieutenant Barnard's talk to captain Aleck, Hoyaney, White Cabin, War King, Scotchman, and other headmen and warriors of the lower Creek towns., c. 16 September 1763, and Speech of John Stuart, 5 November 1763, Journal of the congress of the four southern governors, and the superintendent of that district, with the Five Nations of Indians, at Augusta, 1763. (1764). University of Michigan Library Digital Collections,;c=evans;idno=N07603.0001.001;view=text;rgn=div1;node=N07603.0001.001:3 

Journal of the Proceedings of the Southern Congress at Augusta from the arrival of the several Governers at Charles Town South Carolina the 1st of October to their return to the same Place &ca the 21st November 1763. Documenting the American South: Colonial and State Records of North Carolina,

"Letter to the Earl of Egremont from John Stuart regarding a meeting with American Indians and reporting distribution of presents" (Correspondence; List, The National Archives, Kew, CO 5/65 Part 2 1763/12/05). Accessed [March 14, 2024].

"Narrative of the Voyage and Loss of The Duke William, Transport...From the original Manuscript of Captain Nicholls, her Commander" in The Naval Chronicle, For 1807: Containing a General and Biographical History of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom; with a Variety of Original Papers on Nautical Subjects (Vol. 17: 1807).

Pennsylvania Gazette, 21 February 1763. 

Sir William Johnson to Cadwaller Colden, 24 December 1763; Thomas Gage to Sir William Johnson, 1 December 1763, in The Papers of Sir William Johnson (Vol. 4: 1925).

Speech of a Haudenosaunee Delegate, 8 March 1764 in Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York (Vol. 8: 1857).

Museums and Cultural Heritage Sites:

Mi'kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island

Museum of the Cherokee People


 Worlds Turned Upside Down

Episode 7: “The Divide”
Published 05/1/2024

Written by Jim Ambuske

JIM AMBUSKE: This episode of Worlds Turned Upside Down is supported by the Virginia American Revolution 250 Commission

AMBUSKE: The weather was fair on Saturday morning, November 5, 1763. But tension hung in the air as Captain John Stuart rose to address the more than 800 Creeks, Cherokees, Chickasaws, Chotctows, and Catabawas who had gathered in the small town of Augusta, Georgia. 

AMBUSKE:  On orders from King George III’s ministers in London, Stuart and the governors of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia had convened a congress with the region’s major native nations. With the French and Spanish having ceded Louisiana and Florida to the British, Stuart and the provincial officials were to allay native fears that the British intended to take their lands, now that the king claimed dominion over them. 

AMBUSKE: And with the Anglo-Cherokee War and Pontiac’s Uprising fresh in their minds, those assembled at Augusta were all too aware of how mistrust between peoples could exact a heavy price on everyone. 

AMBUSKE: Stuart knew the Indigenous communities who waited to hear his words better than most British officials. He was the Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Southern District, a position that empowered him to speak on behalf of the king and the empire in negotiations with native peoples.

AMBUSKE: And he was alive to give his talk only because of the relationships he had forged with them. 

AMBUSKE: Stuart was born in Inverness, Scotland and emigrated to South Carolina in the late 1740s. He became a merchant in Charleston and he eventually developed a friendship with the Cherokee leader Attakullakulla, or the Little Carpenter. 

AMBUSKE: During the Anglo-Cherokee War, Stuart served as a captain in the provincial militia, and when Cherokee warriors captured Fort Loudoun in August 1760, they spared the life of Attakullakulla’s friend. Stuart was the fort’s only surviving officer. The king appointed him Superintendent for the Southern District in 1762, and together with Sir William Johnson, his counterpart in the north, he was entrusted with maintaining the peace between British America and the king’s Indigenous allies. 

AMBUSKE: The Augusta congress had taken months to organize. Time and distance were the masters of all things in the eighteenth century. The Earl of Egremont had sent Stuart his orders in March 1763. They left London and crossed the Atlantic, arriving first in New York. From there, an express rider took them south to Charleston, where Stuart received them in early June. He wrote immediately to the four governors, directing them to come to Augusta, but he also warned Egremont that it would take time to gather all the Indigenous communities together. The Choctaw and Chickasaw towns were about seven hundred miles from Augusta. He reckoned it would take an express rider 25 days to reach them, another two weeks for them to deliberate on whether to attend, and if they decided to come, another fifty days before they arrived in Augusta. Stuart believed the conference would not begin before October, eight months after his orders left London.

AMBUSKE: Nor was he confident that all the native nations would attend or that they would do so peaceably. Lingering resentment persisted between the Creeks and the Cherokees in the wake of the Anglo-Cherokee War, a recent dispute in Creek country had led to the death of a British trader, and all the nations were keenly aware that the balance of power had shifted in the region. They could no longer play the British, French, and Spanish off each other, leaving them fearful, Stuart wrote, of becoming too dependent on the British. 

AMBUSKE: But Stuart managed to persuade them. He sent emissaries to the different towns with a message: George III and the British “don’t want any of your lands.” 

AMBUSKE: Further delays pushed the gathering back to November. Some of the governors suggested moving the meeting to Dorchester, South Carolina, about 100 miles east of Augusta, but the Chickasaws and Creeks refused to go any further. The governors would come to them, or there would be no meeting at all. And so to Augusta, the governors went. 

AMBUSKE: Two weeks before the congress opened, Stuart directed the governors to send a talk to each of the nations. On behalf of the king and their individual colonies, they swore off a desire for Indigenous lands, and promised to brighten the chain of friendship with them through trade and diplomacy. The governors would speak with one voice to the assembled nations, so that together all could hear the king’s good intentions, without subterfuge. 

AMBUSKE: When Stuart rose to give his own speech on November 5th, he would have seen people he knew well sitting among the gathered, including Attakullakulla, his friend, and Ostenaco, the Cherokee leader who had met the king in London a year earlier. 

AMBUSKE: To them, and to all those he called Britain’s “Friends and brothers,” Stuart proclaimed the British government’s new imperial vision for North America: the interior would be reserved for native peoples, the British government would prevent white settlement in the west, and regulated trade would bring peace and prosperity to all peoples who inhabited the king’s dominions. 

AMBUSKE: After Stuart finished his talk, much work still lay ahead. Over the next five days, as Indigenous leaders representing many different towns rose to give their replies, as they complained about white settlers on their hunting grounds, questioned the governors about the supply of trade goods, defended the sovereignty of their nations, and as the first reports of the King’s Royal Proclamation of October 1763 began appearing in the colonies, the delegates at the Augusta congress began marking out a boundary between British America in the east and native nations in the west.

AMBUSKE: It was the beginnings of a border that in time would traverse the continent, from West Florida in the south to the Maine district in the north. A dividing line that few could see, and nobody could find.

AMBUSKE: I’m Jim Ambuske, and this is Worlds Turned Upside Down, a podcast about the history of the American Revolution. 

AMBUSKE: Episode 7: “The Divide”

AMBUSKE: As Stuart’s orders made their way to South Carolina in the summer of 1763, the Board of Trade unfurled a map of North America across a table in their London offices. With red ink, the Board’s members drew a line from north to south, a border between British and Indigenous America that followed the peaks of the Appalachian Mountains. 

AMBUSKE: The line represented an ideal British American world, one as the king’s ministers imagined it as they began drafting a blueprint for reforming North America. The boundary was part of a greater plan to bring coherence to a disorderly empire, reforge it into a rationalized system that marked the limits of western settlement, keep loyal British subjects facing east toward the Mother Country, and direct new settlers to the conquered colonies in Canada and the Floridas.

AMBUSKE: The red ink splashed on the map in London was also meant to ensure a lasting peace between British colonists and Indigenous peoples after all the blood split in a series of long and terrible wars. 

AMBUSKE: When the Board of Trade marked up its map in London, its members didn’t yet know about Pontiac’s War in the Ohio Country. 

AMBUSKE: But for decades, British officials like the Earl of Halifax had feared the unrestrained self-interest of colonists who coveted western lands, and the violence and imperial instability their ambitions could provoke. The Seven Years’ War, the Anglo-Cherokee War, and now Pontiac’s War had only proven their point. The line was meant to be a new beginning, a clear border defining the limits of western settlement, and a framework for rebuilding relationships with Indigenous peoples. 

AMBUSKE: In the fall of 1763, the British public first learned what this line might look like. When the Gentleman’s Magazine published the text of the Royal Proclamation, it included a map of North America by English cartographer John Gibson. Gibson’s map shows the colonial boundaries created by the proclamation, including a prominent black line running along the Appalachian Mountains. Beyond it, in capital letters stretching from West Florida’s northern border to the southern shore of Lake Erie, Gibson inscribed words that he paraphrased from the king’s royal edict: “LAND RESERVED for the INDIANS.”

AMBUSKE: In our stories of early America, in our textbooks, and in our popular imagination we have come to call this border, “The Proclamation Line.”

AMBUSKE: But that line wasn’t real. 

AMBUSKE: Here’s Max Edelson, Professor of History at the University of Virginia.

MAX EDELSON: I hate to be one of those historians who says but actually, to every long held and cherished idea about early American history, but I have to say everything you think you know about the Proclamation Line is probably not right. In fact, every textbook has a very clear line that goes along the peaks of the Appalachian Mountains. In reality, that line is a complete abstraction. No one knows where to find that line. If you've ever traveled in the Appalachian Mountains, you will know that a line on a map going through this very complex terrain is never going to be self evident to anyone on the ground. So I think the history textbooks are really wrong on this and I see this error kind of perpetuated in scholarship. The line was never a clear and visible barrier, so it could never have prevented people from crossing it because they couldn't even find out where it was.

AMBUSKE: This invisible barrier was central to the Board of Trade’s plan to transform British America into an empire of order. In the Royal Proclamation of 1763, George III forbade settlement “Westward of the Sources of the Rivers which fall into the Sea,” a command as geographically specific as it was nebulous. 

AMBUSKE: But the proclamation line wasn’t drafted in isolation. It was part of a much larger British effort to make new maps of North America in the years after the Seven Years’ War.  

AMBUSKE: So, how did the British use cartography to reimagine British America in the 1760s? And how did Native diplomats and British officials negotiate to make an abstract line drawn on maps real on the ground? 

AMBUSKE: To begin answering these questions, we’ll first plot a course for London, where the Board of Trade and the king’s men developed plans for mapping British America in high resolution. We’ll then sail west to Prince Edward Island, where a survey expedition in the 1760s reveals much about the government’s new vision for the colonies, before trekking southwest, to the contested space between native people and the British colonies, where Indigenous and British negotiators struggled to create an imaginary border, one that defined nations. 

AMBUSKE: The British well knew that geographic knowledge was a form of power. Such knowledge could allow those who possessed it to control and regulate space, conquer territories, defend them, and rule the peoples who inhabited the map. 

AMBUSKE: The king’s ministers were also well aware that they knew far less about North American geography than they would have liked. British experiences during the Seven Years’ War had made that very clear.

EDELSON: Some of the people who voiced the biggest concerns about the lack of geographic knowledge that Britain had were the admirals and generals who led the war during the Seven Years War. They found themselves sometimes completely lost in the woods and the remote areas of North America and the West Indies.

AMBUSKE: In the summer of 1755, for instance, the lack of good maps contributed to General Edward Braddock’s disastrous defeat at Fort Duquesne in western Pennsylvania. 

AMBUSKE: In 1761, the Admiralty complained about the lack of accurate charts of the French coast and other theaters of the war. It ordered the crews of British warships to produce updated navigational charts wherever they went, including:

ADMIRALTY: “The Islands, Keys, etc., in the East and West Indies, the Harbours, etc., in our own Plantations and Colonies, and those of other Nations.”

AMBUSKE: Maps were also a form of military intelligence that neither the British nor the French could afford to let fall into enemy hands. In the summer of 1758, the British captured French-made maps at the Fortress of Louisbourg, the French stronghold on Cape Breton Island. Not long after, James Cook of the Royal Navy and army officer Samuel Holland met aboard the HMS Pembroke to study them. The maps revealed how the British might safely navigate thxe St. Lawrence River. Together with new coastal surveys produced by Holland and Cook, these captured French maps allowed the British fleet carrying General James Wolfe’s army to sail up the river toward Quebec in the summer of 1759, to begin the British siege of the city. 

AMBUSKE: After the war, mapping British America became a priority. 

EDELSON: They did not want to be caught unawares, again, because they believed that new wars would be coming. And they were not wrong about that France and Spain were still very formidable rivals, they wanted to reclaim perhaps parts of the empire that they had lost in the future. So these admirals and generals made a very strong case that they needed new maps in order to defend this new empire.

AMBUSKE: The acquisition of new territories at the end of the Seven Years’ War only increased the knowledge deficit. 

EDELSON: One of the big objectives in the post war reforms was to map every bit of North America and the new colonies in the West Indies so that they could be controlled from London. It's very clear that although Britain was somewhat active, making maps and taking surveys, largely that work was done to regulate the way land was appropriated. So people had maps of the settled areas of British America. But all this new territory was virtually unknown to British authorities. 

AMBUSKE: In their advice to the king, the Board of Trade recommended the boundaries of the new colonies acquired from the Spanish and French at the end of the war. They described the borders of East Florida this way:

BOARD OF TRADE: “East Florida to be bounded by the Coast of the Atlantick Sea from Cape Florida to the North Entrance of St. John’s River, on the East; by a Line drawn due West from the North Entrance of St. John’s River to the Catahowche or Flint Rivers, on the North; and on the West and South West by that part of the Coast of the Gulph of Mexico, which extends from Cape Florida to the Mouth of the Catahowche River, and from thence following the Course of the said Rivers to where the North Line falls in.”

AMBUSKE: This bewildering description made sense to eighteenth-century British officials in the abstract, but making East Florida, the other new colonies, and the Proclamation Line real required a greater degree of precision. 

EDELSON: Eastern North America is a huge place. If they were going to colonize America from London, they had to know a lot more about the places they were in charge of now. And so mapmaking became part of this process of reform.

AMBUSKE: In the mid-1750s, when the Virginian John Mitchell published his landmark work, A map of the British and French dominions in North America, he drew on a variety of reports and other maps to create it. As important as Mitchell’s map was for how British officials understood North American geography at the time, it lacked the resolution they needed to reform British America after the war, and it reflected the inaccuracies of some of its sources. To create a coherent, economically vibrant, and peaceful empire, the British needed better maps. 

EDELSON: A lot of the new maps that were made by the surveyors after the Seven Years War were much more zoomed in in scale. These were maps that use the most precise techniques of coastal survey in order to get an accurate picture of the coast at a high resolution. This tradition of mapmaking came from the military, which had mapped the Scottish Highlands after the Jacobite rebellions in the 1740s. And it was really a requirement of the military that commanders be able to see the lay of the land as they adjusted to fast changing conditions in the field, they needed to see roads and mountains and fence lines and impassable areas. This was the standard of map making that the British wanted for North America, every mile should be represented by an inch on the map.

AMBUSKE: To meet the government’s need for more accurate maps, the Board of Trade and other departments began authorizing new surveys of North America.

EDELSON: The Admiralty did its own coastal surveys. The army did it surveys especially with the Ohio River and the Mississippi and the Department of Indian Affairs also surveyed the boundary line and other areas in the interior. But the General Survey of North America was the Board of Trade's Survey that it controlled directly, and it appointed two general surveyors, one for the Northern District and one for the Southern District and the Potomac River was seen as the midpoint that divided these two districts.

AMBUSKE: To lead the General Survey of North America, the Board of Trade appointed two officers with extensive experience surveying in the colonies.

EDELSON: Originally, the charge to the General Survey of North America was to map every inch of British America to this new standard of resolution for military mapping. But of course, that was a goal without any specific endpoint it would take they believe generations to create such maps.

EDELSON: In the first instance, the general surveyor of the Northern District, an Army officer named Samuel Holland, was in charge of mapping places like what became Prince Edward Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Canada, parts of Nova Scotia and other places in the northeast, like the coast of Maine. In the Southern District, William de Brahm, another military surveyor, who had served in the British Army and as a colonial official in South Carolina was appointed to really focus on the new colony of East Florida. Because of all the places that Britain inherited at the peace talks in 1763. East Florida was one they knew the least about, they didn't even know where the rivers were, because those would be the places in which they would create plantation settlements.

EDELSON: So the General Survey of North America had this ambitious agenda to map everything. But at the beginning, they started off mapping a few select places that were seen as the most vital to establish new colonies in the north and the south.

AMBUSKE: Samuel Holland’s 1764 survey of St. John’s Island, what we now call Prince Edward Island, can help us understand how the Board of Trade envisioned using cartography to guide the settlement of the new colonies. 

AMBUSKE: Prince Edward Island lies just off the coast of the modern Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. It was once part of the French colony of Acadia. In the early eighteenth century, a small number of Catholic Acadians lived there. They did so with the permission of the Mi’kmaq people, who have inhabited the land for over 12,000 years. 

AMBUSKE: By the early 1750s, however, the island’s French Catholic population began to swell. On nearby Nova Scotia, the British under the direction of the Earl of Halifax had begun sending Protestant settlers to breed out their imperial rivals. The outbreak of the Seven Years’ War only deepened British suspicion of the Acadians. To escape British rule, some Acadians on Nova Scotia fled to Prince Edward Island, growing the island’s population to more than 4,000 people.

AMBUSKE: But that was not far enough to escape the war. Three years after the British began deporting Acadians from Nova Scotia, Acadians on Prince Edward Island suffered the same fate. In the days following the surrender of Fortress Louisbourg in July 1758, the British began rounding up Acadians and removing them from the island, with the intention of deporting them to France. 

AMBUSKE: Many Acadians never made it. More than 3,000 people were put aboard ships. More than 1,600 of them died. Many Acadians succumbed to disease at sea. Many drowned. Of the 400 Acadians who embarked on board the Duke William, 100 died of illness. 296 more drowned when the ship sank off the coast of France on December 13, 1758. One family alone lost 120 members. Three generations gone in an instant, disappeared beneath the waves.     

AMBUSKE: When Samuel Holland began his survey of Prince Edward Island in 1764 then, the British saw it as nearly a blank slate, one ripe for their new model of colonial settlement. By then, the island had been annexed to the government of Nova Scotia. For the Board of Trade, this was a chance to build on the Earl of Halifax’s earlier experiments in Nova Scotia, and construct a colony methodically, from the ground up, with regulations in place that directed the settlers’ energies toward the imperial interest. 

EDELSON: So, traditionally, in colonial British America, you didn't map everything first and hand out the townships. You invited settlers to come to new colonies who would then claim their 100 acres or 500 acres or 1000 acres of land based on the amount they could pay or the amount of people they brought over. And the patchwork of settlement that emerged from that was chaotic and disorganized.

AMBUSKE: Like Nova Scotia, East and West Florida, and the new colonies in the Caribbean, the British designed Prince Edward Island to prevent the kind of haphazard way the older colonies had been settled. 

AMBUSKE: For Alexandra Montgomery, the manager of the Center for Digital History at the George Washington Presidential Library at Mount Vernon, the government’s direct oversight of the settlement process marked the difference between what historians call “settler colonialism” and what she terms as “weaponized settlement.”

ALEXANDRA MONTGOMERY: When we think of settler colonialism, we think of it as something that is propelled by colonists for colonists. It is a process by which colonists create governments by them, for them to eliminate indigenous folks both literally and rhetorically claim their lands, that kind of a process, which is a process that we see again and again in the 18th century.

MONTGOMERY: So the idea of settler colonialism is this process by which land that is not yours becomes yours, in a way that completely precludes the original inhabitants from participation in the political society that is created. 

MONTGOMERY: The term weaponize settlement is one that I use to describe this process that I see happening in Nova Scotia and also in other places as well. And by weaponized settlement. I mean, it was extremely clear to members of what I call the planning class. So this is everybody from colonial officials to all up and down the ranks of officials in Britain are very aware of the dispossessed of power of white self reproducing settler populations. They see it and they like it. And the idea of weaponize settlement is you don't have colonists creating these spaces for themselves. What you have is higher up government officials looking at the land kind of like a chessboard and saying we need more control here. We don't like the people that are living here. The way that we are going to create this without being in a wartime battle situation is we are going to strategically plant populations that are loyal to us. And that is how we will hold that land. We will take this land from the enemy without firing a shot through the author might have colonization.

AMBUSKE: To survey the island’s coast, Holland and his team used a technique called “the plan table method.”

EDELSON: This was a very painstaking method that used visual observation and trigonometry to create an accurate picture of the coastline. And literally you'd have teams of surveyors going out on these remote coasts in places like Nova Scotia, and East Florida. And they would, they would have the poor ensigns with their red flags would stand across the river from them. And the surveyors would take a sight line with their instruments. And then they would move their plane tables and observation equipment to a different place and take another measure of that same location. And they would create a nested series of triangles that gave them an accurate picture of the proportion of the coast. This was very high quality work and produce very durable maps that stood up to working in the field. But it was very painstaking work that involves sending teams of people out to these remote locations so that they could observe these landmarks.”

AMBUSKE: Even now, we can still see the legacy of Samuel Holland’s survey and the Board of Trade’s plan inscribed on the landscape of Prince Edward Island. 

EDELSON: So if you visit Prince Edward Island today, you will notice that a lot of the main roads in the island are skewed at a particular angle. And this relates directly to the way that Samuel Holland surveyed the island. Not only did he create a coastal survey with the Admiralty of the shape of the island, he divided it into a couple of dozen townships that were to be auctioned off to basically bidders who made an application to the Board of Trade in London, and promised in exchange for upwards of 20 24,000 acres of land in this new colony to populate these townships with colonists, and to develop them as part of the conditions of receiving the land. And according to the new policies of the Board of Trade. If they didn't do these things that land would revert to the crown.

AMBUSKE: In 1767, the Board of Trade created a lottery system for allocating these townships to prominent Britons who they believed were capable of recruiting settlers for the island.

EDELSON: The people who assumed the these grants were people who are well connected with the British government. And they were often merchants, wealthy individuals who had good connections in Parliament. And they use those in order to get the benefit of being connected to this empire.

EDELSON: Part of Britain's motives in apportioning the land this way was to make sure that those who received land grants would be loyal to the interests of the crown first and foremost, and less in the pockets of local elites.

AMBUSKE: But as with Nova Scotia in the early 1750s, the settlement of Prince Edward Island in the 1760s didn’t go as planned. 

EDELSON: As you might suspect, this grand scheme to develop this ideal colony rapidly with new townships already laid out and surveyed from the outset did not work very well in practice. The people who came over to be tenants for these great landlords on these townships resented not being landowners themselves. So there was a lot of resentment and kind of under development that resulted from these schemes. And of course, this is one of the big problems of the Board of Trade schemes. It looked great on paper, it looked great when viewed from a series of maps on a mahogany conference table in London. But in the real terrain of North America in the West Indies, those schemes didn't always work out as planned.

AMBUSKE: To settlers in British America’s older colonies, the Board of Trade’s strategy signaled something far more troubling.

EDELSON: Colonists who lived in North America already, who saw themselves as the prime movers behind colonization really felt shut out by these metropolitan insiders who use their connections and pull in order to get these big land grants. So it was in my view, a very clear moment where British colonists understood that this new empire would be a place where they weren't in control as they had been before, especially of new colonies on the new frontiers.

AMBUSKE: The British government’s plan to settle the conquered mainland and Caribbean colonies in a deliberate and regulated manner was rooted in the Board of Trade’s belief that it ought to direct colonization from London. Creating maps was essential to this process. Visualizing space allowed the king’s ministers to see what was, and more importantly, what could be. 

AMBUSKE: In territories like Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, that plan was built on the idea of weaponized settlement. It included the forced removal of the Acadian population, so that new maps could be drawn to impose the Board of Trade’s vision for a prosperous future on the colonial landscape.

AMBUSKE: The task of surveying and settling these lands stood in stark contrast, however, to the challenge the British faced over 1,000 miles to the southwest, as they prepared to draw a line between British and Indigenous America. 

AMBUSKE: In June 1763, when the Lords of Trade sent to George III and the Earl of Egremont their recommendations on how to reform British America, and how to incorporate Canada, the Floridas, and a number of Caribbean islands into the empire, they included their map with a western boundary line drawn in red ink. 

EDELSON: The very first visualization of what we think of as the proclamation line was drawn on a map that the British Board of Trade bought at probably a local map printer in London, and they hand annotated it to show the locations of the new colonies, and they drew a red line across the mountains. If you look closely at this line, it very much distinguishes between the rivers that flow toward the Mississippi and the rivers that flowed to the Atlantic. So roughly along the peaks of the Appalachian Mountains. That was the first idea of the proclamation line. But none of that land had ever been surveyed. And the map they used was Emanual Bowen's, very well respected map of North America, but it wasn't based on any solid survey information. So most people behind that first map, that first image of the line understood that it was an idea of a line it wasn't anything they could actually find in the real landscape.

AMBUSKE: George III’s Royal Proclamation of October 1763 didn’t offer any concrete geographic guidance either, besides an injunction against settlement west of the mountains. Nor did it specify how the survey of the boundary line ought to be carried out. 

AMBUSKE: But if we look closely, the Proclamation reveals an evolution in British thinking about native nations, an evolution that made a boundary line possible.

AMBUSKE: In the Proclamation, George III declared:

GEORGE III: "Our Royal Will and Pleasure, for the present as aforesaid, to reserve under our Sovereignty, Protection and Dominion, for the use of the said Indians, all the Lands and Territories not included, within the Limits of Our said Three new Governments,... as also all the Lands and Territories lying to the Westward of the Sources of the Rivers which fall into the Sea."

AMBUSKE: In other words, the Indians inhabiting these western lands were separate peoples, not subjects.

AMBUSKE: Indigenous nations certainly didn’t need the British to tell them that they were sovereign in their own right, but by the early 1760s the British had begun to think of native nations as something they could recognize as states, as organized political societies with control over defined territory, with governments capable of negotiating with foreign powers. 

AMBUSKE: The Proclamation gave formal legal weight to this evolving view. The Crown assumed the right to deal directly with Indigenous nations, shutting out colonial governments, land speculation companies, and private individuals. Building on a process it had begun in the 1750s by appointing men like Sir William Johnson and John Stuart to lead the Indian Department, the king would treat native nations living in the west as sovereigns living under the Crown’s protection. 

AMBUSKE: News of the Proclamation could not have arrived in British America in late 1763  at a more critical moment. While John Stuart and the governors of the four southern colonies were meeting with native nations in Augusta, Georgia, Sir William Johnson was trying to find a diplomatic solution to end Pontiac’s War in the north. 

AMBUSKE: In late December, Johnson received a copy of the Proclamation at Johnson Hall, his home along the Mohawk River in western New York. It was enclosed with a letter from the Board of Trade, which had arrived in New York City twenty-five days earlier. Johnson immediately had it copied and dispatched it to the nations under his jurisdiction along with sentiments similar to Stuart’s messages to the southern nations: the king does not want your lands. 

AMBUSKE: In the months since the Odawa leader Pontiac and his allied warriors had abandoned their sieges of Forts Detroit and Pitt to prepare their communities for the cold winter months ahead, some of the warring nations had signaled their willingness to negotiate a peace with the British. In Johnson’s mind, none were more important than the Seneca who had joined Pontiac’s uprising. 

AMBUSKE: The majority of the Haudenosaunee, or the Six Nations Iroquois, had honored their alliance with the British during the conflict. They took care to avoid most of the fighting until they believed it was in their best interest to intervene. The Seneca living along the Genesee River, however, shared the western nations’ grievances over British trade restrictions and illegal white squatters on their lands. They broke with the rest of Haudenosaunee and attacked British soldiers and settlers. 

AMBUSKE: In Johnson’s mental geography, the Haudenosaunee were one of the keys to British success in North America. Eleazor Wheelock, a Congregational minister from Connecticut who led mostly unsuccessful efforts to convert the Haudenosaunee to Christianity, shared Johnson’s conviction. 

AMBUSKE: Maeve Kane, Associate Professor of History at the University of Albany, explains: 

MAEVE KANE: Wheelock is very focused on the conversion of the Haudenosaunee. He calls them the key to North America, both before and after the Seven Years War. In the years before the Seven Years' War, and during the Seven Years' War, New England in general had been the target of French and allied Indigenous attacks. There's an interesting poem that's published in England in 1710 or 12. That basically argues that the Haudenosaunee should be married to the daughters of England to protect them from Catholic incursion. And this this very strange gendered metaphor, but that's really how New England is thinking about the Haudenosaunee. that they're kind of the protectors from the French. Wheelock is informed by all of that.

AMBUSKE: As the Seneca’s decision to side with Pontiac might suggest, Britain’s relationship with the Haudenosaunee after the Seven Years’ War had become more complicated.

KANE: I think it becomes much more tense. The British are looking at this and much of what Wheelock himself right that the Haudenosaunee are the key to North America. It's informed by tensions with the French but he writes this after the Seven Years' War, and he continues to conceive of the Haudenosaunee as a kind of a shield from western Indian nations, as well as the key to converting the rest of North America. So they're seen as very influential politically and diplomatically among Indigenous people. But I think broadly, the British had been anxious about Haudenosaunee alliances before the Seven Years' War, but the end of the Seven Years War' really calls into question like, the Haudenosaunee are the other large military power on the continent. They had been pivotal in the Seven Years' War. Why aren't the subjects of the British king?

AMBUSKE: For Sir William Johnson and for the Haudenosaunee, bringing the Seneca back into fold was paramount. Keeping the chain of friendship with the Haudenosaunee polished and bright was crucial to Johnson’s own standing among Indigenous nations, and among the king’s ministers. And the Haudenosaunee knew that a fractured confederacy would make it difficult to maintain their claim to authority over the peoples of the Ohio Country.

AMBUSKE: In July of 1764, Johnson met with about 2,000 people from 24 different nations at Fort Niagara to make peace. The Haudenosaunee and the wayward Seneca were among the attendees, as were the Ojibwa, Mississaugas, and many others. After weeks of negotiations, whose success depended in part on the influence of Molly Brandt, a member of the Mohawk nation as well as Johnson’s wife, the delegates signed a treaty on August 1. 

AMBUSKE: It was a pivotal moment in British American and Indigenous history. In the Treaty of Fort Niagara, the assembled Indigenous nations accepted the Royal Proclamation of 1763, and the Crown’s acknowledgment of their rights as independent nations living under the king’s protection. It restored the Seneca to the Covenant Chain and brought the western nations present into the British-Indigenous alliance. They  agreed to return captives and allow trade to resume at British forts in their homelands. Johnson and the British promised to reopen that trade and prosecute settlers who violated the boundary line, which had yet to be mapped.  

AMBUSKE: And the agreement put into practice the Proclamation’s directive that only the Crown could acquire land from Indigenous peoples, and only then through treaty-making. In acknowledgment of having caused the chain of friendship to lose its luster, the Seneca agreed, at Johnson’s insistence, to give the British a four-mile strip of land along the Niagara River.

AMBUSKE: The treaty didn’t end Pontiac’s War. The Delawares, the Shawnees, the Odawas, and other allied nations didn’t attend the conference. The conflict carried on for another year, and while raids continued on British settlers, and two British armies marched into the Ohio Country in 1764, there wasn’t a climactic battle. Instead, Colonels John Bradstreet and Henry Bouquet, backed by the presence of their respective armies, signed treaties with Ohio peoples that restored peace. Pontiac himself signed a treaty with Sir William Johnson in 1766. 

AMBUSKE: But what the Treaty of Fort Niagara did do was formalize the Proclamation of 1763 as the law of the land. And together with John Stuart's efforts at Augusta, it made the Board of Trade’s imagined proclamation line a real possibility.

AMBUSKE: Here’s Max Edelson:

EDELSON: When I started my research and what I learned in doing this research is that the proclamation line may have been an abstraction but it initiated a process of negotiation where Native Americans and British officials met at multiple diplomatic meetings they called congresses over the 1760s and 17 said 70s And they talked about a lot of things at these diplomatic meetings. One of them was peace and justice, the terms of trade. But they always talked about how each Indian nation saw its boundary line with the provinces of British America. If you read the transcriptions of these meetings, they're often geographic landmarks and markers about what they've agreed to about where this line should go.

AMBUSKE: Unlike the coastal surveys and township divisions inscribed on Prince Edward Island, the Proclamation Line would not be imposed from above. Instead, it would be created piece by piece, segment by segment, first through diplomacy, and then in the field, over the course of the next 10 years.

EDELSON: What's really remarkable about this process is this negotiated proclamation line was followed by an actual surveying team that was sent out, for instance, to show the boundary between the Creek Indians and the Georgia colony. But not only were British surveyors involved in surveying that line, Indian representatives accompany them on the surveying expeditions, really to make it clear that they were not going to take it the British were not going to take advantage of this moment and their technology of surveying in order to defraud Native Americans, British officials counted on those Indian participants in the surveys, going back to their towns, going back to their communities and saying, I saw with my own eyes where they marked the boundary line and it conformed to what we agreed to at the diplomatic meeting. 

AMBUSKE: In 1765, for instance, British and Cherokee diplomats met at Fort Prince George, the trading post near the Cherokee town of Keowee, to firm up a fifty-mile stretch of boundary between South Carolina and the Cherokee nation. To the Cherokees, Long Cane Creek was their border with the Carolinians. But the creek’s numerous tributaries made for confusing geography. The Cherokees believed that that confusion had allowed white settlers to claim land that wasn’t theirs

AMBUSKE: The negotiators agreed that this contested segment of the line should pass through a trading post called Devises Corner. It sat at a bend in Long Cane Creek, where the road to Fort Prince George passed over it. After surveyor John Pickens completed a new map of the area, the negotiators met again at the fort to confirm this section of the boundary. On May 8, 1766, six Cherokee leaders, including Ostenaco, made their mark on the map, signaling their consent. 

EDELSON: So this, you could see the idealism behind this facet of the scheme. British officials wanted to really convince Native Americans that they were serious about creating a boundary with British America, that would be respected. And they invited them to accompany British surveyors on the surveying expeditions to mark the line. So that line you see in textbooks, that idea of a line going through the mountains, that is just a provisional idea, and then it is followed up by a negotiated boundary that departs from that idea of the line. And so if we want to understand British America, in this period, we have to understand this process of how this boundary was negotiated.

AMBUSKE: But not every British official believed it was possible to create a permanent, enforceable border.

EDELSON: There were some ideologues, people who deeply believed in the Board of Trade'ss, vision of reform, and really had a lot of animosity toward colonial disobedience in the period before, during and after the Seven Years' War. So they really wanted to impose this solution to empire. But there were other voices who really thought it wasn't very practicable. Just thought these schemes were not going to work in the real conditions of North America, there was probably a turn toward a little more cynicism about the possibility that these reforms could be effected. The British governments were very volatile. At this point. Every time a new government took over, they would appoint new people to head the Secretary of State's office and the Board of Trade, who didn't share the same convictions of those who came before them.

AMBUSKE: One of the critics was the man many British politicians, colonial officials, and Indigenous people held responsible for the outbreak of Pontiac’s War.

EDELSON: There was a contingent of senior Army officers including Sir Jeffrey Amherst, who had been a commander in chief of forces in North America at the end of the Seven Years' War, who believe that it didn't make strategic sense to try to possess interior territory without settling colonies in it. In his view, it was militarily unsupportable to create remote frontier forts that didn't have a settler population around them to feed those soldiers and to defend them as militias. I did look very hard for the map that he is reported to have brought to members of parliament and senior British officials showing his plans for the new colonies that might take shape around British forts along the Ohio River, for instance, I cannot find this actual map if it indeed exists anywhere. But it's very clear that Jeffrey Amherst did not believe in this vision of the Board of Trade did not see the sense in trying to possess territory but not really controlling it. With settler populations and military encampments, he was, I think, quite right to think that those forts would just be places for soldiers to go and die of disease or Indian attack, and that without a colony around them military forts really meant very little.

AMBUSKE: Some British Americans shared Amherst’s belief that the boundary line was unworkable. Although alarmed by what they saw as an infringement on their property rights, colonists like the Virginia planter, politician, and retired militia colonel George Washington believed it was only a matter of time before the line would fall. 

AMBUSKE: As Washington told fellow land speculator William Crawford in September 1767: 

GEORGE WASHINGTON: "The other matter just now hinted at and which I proposd in my last is to join you in attempting to secure some of the most valuable Lands in the Kings part which I think may be accomplished after a while notwithst⟨an⟩ding the Proclamation that restrains it at present & prohibits the Settling of them at all[.] for I can never look upon that Proclamation in any other light (but this I say between ourselves) than as a temporary expedien⟨t⟩ to quiet the Minds of the Indians & must fall of course in a few years esp⟨e⟩cially when those Indians are consenting to our Occupying the Lands. any Person therefore who neglects the present oppertunity of hunting ou⟨t⟩ good Lands & in some measure Marking & distinguishing them for their own (in order to keep others from settling them) will never regain it." 

AMBUSKE: Native nations were no less pragmatic. As British Americans lobbied the Board of Trade to open up more lands to western settlement, some Indigenous communities saw strategic land cessions as a means to protect their homelands. Two major agreements – one with the Haudenosaunee in 1768 and the other with the Cherokees in 1770 – reveal how the boundary line began to erode almost as soon as its segments were fixed. 

AMBUSKE: In November 1768, delegates from the Haudenosaunee met with Sir William Johnson at Fort Stanwix in central New York to finalize the northern border. The Six Nations were already uneasy. Earlier that spring, an unknown Haudensosaunee speaker complained to Johnson that the British were failing to live up to their promises to protect them from greedy settlers who lusted for their lands, murdered their people, and traded dishonestly. Perhaps the French had been right all those years ago, he said, when they tried to convince the Haudenonsuee that the British were not really their brothers after all. As the speaker told Johnson:

HAUDENOSAUNEE SPEAKER: "You often tell us we dont restrain our people and that you do so with yours, but Brother your words differ more from your Actions than do ours.    We have Wide Ears and we can hear that you are going to Settle great numbers in the heart of our Country, and our Necks are stretched out, and our faces set to the Sea Shore to watch their motions.”

AMBUSKE: At Fort Stanwix in November, the Haudenosaunee could read the future on a map.During the conference, Johnson put on a carefully calculated performance. He laid a map before the native delegates showing the preliminary border ending at a place called Owegê along the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. The proposed terminus exposed all of western New York to potential white settlement, with the Onondaga and Oneida towns directly in their path. 

AMBUSKE: To prevent an invasion of their homelands, the Haudenosaunee agreed to an extension of the boundary line. This new segment ran east from Owegê before turning north, where it followed various creeks before ending just to the west of Fort Stanwix. 

AMBUSKE: The Haudenosaunee, however, went much further at the conference than anyone except for perhaps Johnson expected. 

AMBUSKE: For more than a century, the Haudenosaunee had claimed dominion over the peoples of the Ohio Country, what we now consider western Virginia and Pennsylvania, parts of Kentucky, and the states bordering the Great Lakes. This claim included the right to conduct diplomacy on their behalf. 

AMBUSKE: But preserving their sovereignty and homelands had always been their chief concern. 

AMBUSKE: Prior to Fort Stanwix, the Board of Trade had ordered Johnson to finalize Virginia’s western border by fixing it at the junction of the Kanawha and Ohio Rivers. This would provide some additional land for white settlers, while upholding the Royal Proclamation’s restrictions on western settlement. 

AMBUSKE: Johnson ignored these instructions. The Haudenosaunee were all too willing to support his disobedience. Instead of terminating the western border at the Kanawha and Ohio Rivers, Johnson asked the Six Nations for a new boundary line that ran the length of the Ohio River instead. The Haudenonsaunee agreed. The new border opened up millions of acres to white settlement.

AMBUSKE: On the one hand, the deal reflected Johnson’s long and intimate ties to the Haudenosaunee, his skill as a diplomat, and his willingness to go against his orders when he believed conditions on the ground demanded it. 

AMBUSKE: On the other hand, the Haudenosaunee had little confidence that the British could really stop white settlers from encroaching on their lands. That the Proclamation Line was really enforceable. More and more settlers seemed to arrive every year, butting up against their homelands and hunting grounds. They could read the future on a map and decided to reshape it. 

AMBUSKE: By invoking their authority over the Ohio Country, the Haudenosaunee ceded lands in what is now Kentucky to the British. If they could not stop white settlement, they hoped to control its direction, and deflect colonists south, away from their homelands. If the British had long seen the Haudensoaunee as a shield against the French and western Indigenous nations, the Haudensoaunee hoped to shape the Proclamation Line into a shield around their own communities, at the expense of the native peoples who lived in the ceded territory.

AMBUSKE: The Cherokees pursued a similar strategy.

EDELSON: One of the places that changed the most was the border between the Cherokee Nation and the colony of Virginia. Virginians had already gone past the mountains, there were illegal land grants to Virginia land holders, before the Seven Years' War that went all the way to the Ohio River. These were legitimate land grants that were made before the proclamation. So Britain felt that those needed to be honored as well. And Cherokee representatives also acknowledged that those land grants shouldn't be discounted. This was really one of the principles that Native nations and British negotiators had during these talks was that wherever British settlement existed, it should be left where it was, and the boundary should be placed beyond it. But you know, Virginia officials and land speculators had a vision of their colony not just as a settled place near the Tidewater, but as a little empire in its own right, that was going to expand into the west into a great empire in miniature. People like George Washington and other active land speculators did not want to give up on that vision. And the governors of Virginia who took part in negotiations with Native Americans did not want to give up on that vision. So at a series of negotiations between the Cherokees and the British, that line was renegotiated to give more land to Virginia, and to shrink the size of the Cherokee Nation. And there were Cherokee leaders who were very much on board to do this.

AMBUSKE: In 1768, the British convened a congress with the Cherokees at Hard Labor Creek in South Carolina to settle the nation’s northern border with Virginia. The Cherokees insisted on the Kanawha River as the border, but Virginia governor Norborne Berkeley, Baron de Botetourt complained that it constricted the colony and would force him to remove settlers already on those lands. The Cherokees agreed to a counter proposal that put all of the river in Virginia’s boundaries. 

EDELSON: There are a few reasons why Native Americans wanted to sell more land to the British at a time when the British were trying to limit the scope of British America. First of all, many of them were reeling from a smallpox epidemic and population decline many word deep in debt to British traders and one of the ways to settle those deaths and get some resources was to make an agreement with the British that would come with some financial compensation. Every time they attended one of these diplomatic meetings, they got what were called Indian presence, supplies of textiles, gunpowder, and other necessities for them. So they had an incentive to sell some lands.

AMBUSKE: But like the Haudenosaunee, the Cherokees also saw land cessions as a defensive strategy. 

EDELSON: In the case of the Cherokees and Virginia though, the real incentive was if they couldn't control the expansion of European colonists into their homelands, they could maybe control the flow of it and the direction in which that settlement would take.

AMBUSKE: In 1770, the British and the Cherokees met again to adjust the boundary line. This time at Lochaber in South Carolina. The diplomats agreed to one line; the men who surveyed it made another. The line should have run north from the North Carolina border to the Kanawha and Ohio Rivers. Surveyor John Donelson and the Cherokees who accompanied him, including Attakullakulla, moved the terminus west down the Ohio River by more than 50 miles. 

EDELSON: At this moment, each Indian nation is in a very vulnerable position and wants to use its negotiating leverage to create safety and security for its people, sometimes at the expense of other native groups

EDELSON:  So both the Iroquois and the Cherokees negotiated with the British and granted much more land than the British had initially asked for, I think in order to direct settlement away from their homelands and really toward the Ohio River where Native Americans who lived along the Ohio River bore the brunt of that invasive colonization.

AMBUSKE: British Americans who picked up a copy of the Pennsylvania Gazette published on February 21, 1765, found a curious notice on the third page, if they noticed it at all. Surrounded by advertisements of land for sale, reports on merchant ships arriving from Europe, mention of new laws passed in the colonial assembly, and even a few lines of poetry, it read:

PENNSYLVANIA GAZETTE: “Notice is hereby given, that six of the Captives, recovered by Col. Bouquet from the Indians, in November last, are now at Philadelphia, under the Care of this Government, … three Boys, and three Girls, whose Descriptions are respectively as follow.”

AMBUSKE: Stephen was the oldest. He was about 14 years old, with fair skin, light brown hair, and oak brown eyes. William was around 12, with a brown complexion, black hair, and black eyes. The third boy’s name wasn’t known.

AMBUSKE: Betty was William’s sister. She was about 9, with the same dark skin, black eyes, and black hair. Rachel was maybe 10, with a complexion like Stephen’s, only with grey eyes. Catherine, a year younger, had light brown eyes, and brown hair.

PENNSYLVANIA GAZETTE: “They have been several Years among the Indians, and do not recollect their Surnames, nor from what Place they were taken.”

AMBUSKE: The notice advised anyone whose children or relations had been taken into captivity to come to Philadelphia to see if they belonged to them. If no family could be found, the children would be turned into indentured servants and bound out to employers. 

AMBUSKE: The children were among some 200 people relinquished to Colonel Henry Bouquet by the Shawnee and Delaware. In November 1764, just as British and native diplomats began negotiating the boundary between British and Indigenous America, Bouquet marched an army from Fort Pitt to the Muskingum River in the Ohio Country, to take Pontiac’s War to the Shawnee and Delaware. 

AMBUSKE: With Bouquet’s army in their villages, the native peoples saw little option but to negotiate a treaty with him. That agreement included the return of settlers taken captive during the Seven Years’ War. Some of the children were surely captives who were taken during raids in places like western Pennsylvania and Virginia.

AMBUSKE: The genealogy of some of the other children was more complicated.

AMBUSKE: Bouquet forced his Indigenous adversaries to give up the children they had with white women as well. 

AMBUSKE: The Pennsylvania artist Benjamin West depicted the moment of the transfer in a painting that later became a widely circulated print. Against the backdrop of soldiers bearing fixed bayonets, Bouquet is seated on a stump, shaded by trees. A number of people have gathered opposite him. Some are Indigenous men and women, some are white women. Some look on with anticipation, others are weeping.

AMBUSKE: In the foreground, an Indigenous man and a woman try to coax a frightened boy toward Bouquet. The man has a look of resignation on his face as he pushes the child forward; the woman is bent on one knee, with her face turned toward the young boy. She steadies him with her grasp. Her expression suggests she is asking him to be brave. 

AMBUSKE: Behind them, a couple embraces another distraught child, who knows what is about to happen. 

AMBUSKE: We cannot know for certain if William, Beatty, or some of the other children who appeared in the Pennsylvania Gazette were children born of two worlds, but their ages and their physical descriptions make it a distinct possibility. And if they didn’t know what family they were from, they knew the people they might have called their family, family they were forced to leave behind.

AMBUSKE: They were living reminders that even as Indigenous and British diplomats worked to draw a border between them, there could never really be a divide. 

AMBUSKE: Thanks for listening to Worlds Turned Upside Down. Worlds is a production of R2 Studios, part of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. 

AMBUSKE:  I’m your host, Jim Ambuske.

AMBUSKE: This episode was made possible by the support of the Virginia American Revolution 250 Commission. Head to for a complete transcript of today’s episode and suggestions for further reading.

AMBUSKE:  Worlds is researched and written by me with additional research, writing, and script editing by Jeanette Patrick.

AMBUSKE: Jeanette Patrick and I are the Executive Producers. Grace Mallon is our British Correspondent. 

AMBUSKE:  Our lead audio editor is Curt Dahl of CD Squared.

AMBUSKE:  Rachel Birch, Amber Pelham, and Alexandra Miller are our graduate assistants.

AMBUSKE: Our thanks to Max Edelson, Maeve Kane, and Alexandra Montgomery for sharing their expertise with us in this episode. 

AMBUSKE: To see many of the maps referenced in today’s episode, be sure to check out Max Edelson’s digital project on The New Map of Empire at

AMBUSKE: Thanks also to our voice actors Amber Pelham, Nate Sleeter, James Craggs, Luke Jenson-Jones, and Beau Robbins 

AMBUSKE:  Subscribe to Worlds on your favorite podcast app. Thanks, and we’ll see you next time.


Alexandra Montgomery, Ph.D. Profile Photo

Alexandra Montgomery, Ph.D.

Alexandra L. Montgomery is the Manager of the Center for Digital History at the Washington Presidential Library at Mount Vernon. She holds a PhD in early American history from the University of Pennsylvania. When she is not wrangling digital projects about George Washington, her work focuses on the role of the state and settler colonialism in the eighteenth century, particularly in the far northeast.

S. Max Edelson, Ph.D. Profile Photo

S. Max Edelson, Ph.D.

Professor of History | University of Virginia

S. Max Edelson teaches the history of early America, digital humanities, and the history of cartography at the University of Virginia. He received his PhD from Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of Plantation Enterprise in Colonial South Carolina and The New Map of Empire: How Britain Imagined America before Independence. His current research explores mapping and empire in early English America.

Maeve Kane, Ph.D. Profile Photo

Maeve Kane, Ph.D.

Maeve Kane is an associate professor at the University at Albany, SUNY, where she teaches Indigenous and early American history. Kane received her BA from Macalester College and her MA and PhD from Cornell University. Her first book, Shirts Powdered Red: Haudenosaunee Gender, Trade, and Exchange Across Three Centuries (Cornell 2023), argues that Haudenosaunee women used clothing and material culture to maintain an enduring Haudenosaunee identity in the face of American colonial pressures to assimilate and disappear. Her research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humantities, the Mellon Foundation, the New-York Historical Society, the Newberry Library, and the American Philosophical Society. Her other writing has appeared in the journals Ethnohistory and The Journal of Early American History, and she is the co-author of a forthcoming American women's history textbook covering the peopling of the Americas to 2021, American Women: A New Narrative (Wiley-Blackwell 2024).

Beau Robbins Profile Photo

Beau Robbins

Historical Interpreter

Beau Robbins is an historical interpreter, speaker, consultant and model for historical artists. He is also an historical tailor and mantua maker, bringing to life fashions of the past for other interpreters and museums, specializing in the 18-19th centuries. He has performed at historical sites and events throughout the US including national and state parks, as well as private venues and film. Through specialized programming, valuable and informative content can be brought to your classroom, event, symposium or meeting.

Luke Jensen-Jones Profile Photo

Luke Jensen-Jones

Luke Jensen-Jones studies history at Merton College, Oxford. He writes for the Oxford Review of Books, where he was previously Editor-in-Chief.

James Craggs

James is a final-year undergraduate studying History at the University of Oxford. He wrote his undergraduate thesis on the intellectual development of Henry Laurens and William Henry Drayton, two prominent South Carolinians during the Revolutionary crisis, reflecting his keen interest in the early history of the United States.