Queen Anne [r. 1702-1713], first English
monarch to rule over the United Kingdom per se (Wales, England, Scotland), made
a point of encouraging people to settle in England’s American holdings –
including, if not particularly, North Carolina.
At first glance, this seems a very
bizarre thing to do – given that she was leading a nation through a
decade-long war at the time. (fighting
a Spain and France that seemed about to unify).
Among the people that Queen Anne
encouraged to settle in English America were the Pennsylvania Dutch (actually
Germans), Irish & Scots-Irish (the handiwork of one of her predecessors),
and men who were actually from England and Wales.
Some of the things Queen Anne ordered
for North Carolina included the installation of a better means to carry messages
throughout the state and to neighboring states – an advance which the regional
governor of North Carolina refused to carry out. It wasn’t until 1729 that North Carolina was formally
brought into the Colonies, and only then was it given better means of
But surely it didn’t have to be
Let us assume, for the moment, that
OTL sits along the merry median, a middle ground between two opposite approaches
to the dual problems of war & settlement.
What could have been done?
Option 1: Deny Settlement
It would make sense, right?
Don’t send away men who’re perfectly able to pick up a musket or a
saber – send them off to fight on behalf of their Queen.
Yes, some of the men sent to the
Americas were guilty of minor infractions of the law – give them the
opportunity to earn wartime commendations and legal plunder.
Why settle in a new land as a pauper, when one can settle that new land
as a monied officer?
Of course, this is not going to help the
settlement of North Carolina, or its communications problem.
But this is wartime, so what other options are there?
Option 2: Encourage Settlement
Yes, that’s right.
Throw even more colonists at the problem of the Americas.
This would get rid of that pesky
communications problem, certainly, and might even make North Carolina the state
with the most and earliest major public works
(in OTL, it’s got the second-oldest bridge in the US, but not much else
from about then).
Of course, the war might turn out the
same, with the only difference being just how many English soldiers are dead in
foreign fields…or the war might end with England at a disadvantage.
Possibly even with France expanding Quebec, even if there’s no
unification of France and Spain.