|Near Cumberland Gap|
At the opening of the eighteenth century the image of the West beyond the Appalachian Mountains was very dim in the minds of those subjects of the British crown who inhabited the fringe of colonies along the Atlantic coast. The unsettled forest no longer seemed, as it had to Michael Wigglesworth in 1662, a 'Devils den,'..... Yet few English-speaking colonists had reliable knowledge of the interior of the continent.
|Source - Routes Of Early French Explorations|
In so far as the West had come under European control at all, it was French. The English colonists had been engaged in war against this enemy as early as the 1690's, but not even the boldest prophet could imagine a day when the English power would extend over the unmeasured expanse of the Mississippi Valley. The imperial development of Britain was moving in another direction, toward dominion over the seven seas rather than toward the blank and remote hinterland of North America. [Source - VIRGIN LAND]