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Spain took the lead in settling the New World. The West India Islands, Peru, Mexico and Florida were Spanish provinces before any other nation had obtained even a foothold in the great Western inheritance of Nature. But these first Spanish adventurers were too richly rewarded with gold not to intoxicate the brains of the nation. Despising the slow process. of agriculture as a means of wealth, they wasted their strength. in searching for gold wherever they went, and left the fairest portions of America to be colonized by France and EnglandFrance pushed her settlements up the St. Lawrence river, and ultimately into the country of the great chain of lakes and the entire valley of the Mississippi, with a view of holding the great channels of American commerce, while the English, at random, set their foot upon the Atlantic coast, without any plans for the future. It is seldom that great national expectations are fulfilled, and the ultimate destiny of America is no exception to this almost universal rule. Year after year the English colonists toiled in contentment along the eastern fringe of the continent, hardly beyond the hearing of the waters that beat against their narrow foothold in the New World. What was beyond these confines they knew not, nor had they time to inquire, for other work was before them. Across the ocean they had unconsciously borne the elements of a great nation. These had to be planted on a new soil and cultivated into a vigorous growth. While this planting season was in progress, the French, with far-reaching ambition, were strengthening their positions in the interior by building forts and establishing friendly relations with the Indians.
No rivalship between the two nations was manifested at
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