government." Nicholson was governor until 1717, but left the duties of his office largely to lieutenants. His successor, General Richard Philipps (1717-1749), spent not more than six years of his long term in the province, and that at very irregular intervals. Doucette, Armstrong, and Paul Mascarene were in turn his lieu-tenants. During the time of Armstrong the Acadians apparently were inclined to accept the situation and become British subjects; with a saving clause, however, that they should not be called on to bear arms. In 1730 General Philipps, after one of his short visits to the province, reported that they had taken the oath of allegiance, but the Acadians claimed that Philipps on his part promised that they should occupy the position of neutrals in any war with France. Hence arose the name by which, during the latter part of this period, they were known—" the Neutral French." They multiplied greatly and had prosperous settlements, not only along the Annapolis and around the Basin of Minas, but also on the isthmus at the head of Chignecto Bay. They paid no taxes and were subject to no military or other state service. Taking no part in the fur trade, they stayed at home and knew little of the world beyond their fruitful valleys. Had not war again broken out between their kinsmen and the English, it is probable that they would in a short time have accepted unconditionally the position of British subjects.
Canada and New York.—By the Treaty of Utrecht, as we have seen, the Five Nations were acknowledged by France to be British subjects. Nothing, however, was said as to the boundary lines of their territory. New York claimed the entire region to the shores of Lake Ontario, and, in common with the other British colonies in America, she contended that her boundary to the west was the Mississippi, if not, indeed, the Pacific Ocean. For New France to allow this claim would be to lose command of the Niagara. portage and the southern waterway to the western regions. One aim of the French, therefore, was to secure this portage.
Rival Posts on Lake Ontario.—There had already been several attempts during La Salle's time, and at the time of Denonville's march against the Senecas, to establish a fort at the mouth of the Niagara, but the rude structures had been soon abandoned. Now a stockade was built, near where Lewiston