The question of ending the war which had begun on the Monongahela in 1754 had been prominent in informed circles as early as 1759-60, when the first serious bout of tentative negotiation had taken place between French and British representatives. In the course of these unsuccessful discussions, William Pitt had at least sketched the parameters of what he thought desirable. It was, by later standards, restrained. He had already resisted pressure to commit himself necessarily to the retention of Louisbourg. In the negotiations, he did not insist on the retention of either Louisbourg or Quebec and the core of New France. Rather did he insist on a defensible northern boundary for the British colonies, one which by including the forts at Niagara and Crown Point would close the sally ports of Canada, establish the Anglo—French frontier on the Great Lakes, and thereby put an end to any French pretensions in the Ohio valley. That would still have left a viable French Canada with a huge fur-bearing hinterland out west and between the northern setdements on the St Lawrence and the trading territories of the Hudson's Bay Company in the regions draining into Hudson's Bay. Pitt was probably still more interested in trade than in territory for its own sake. Beyond North America, he accepted that it would be politically necessary to insist on the return of the western Mediterranean naval base of Minorca, if only because its loss had been one of the events which had generated the sense of crisis that had enabled him to achieve major office and control of the war effort. Though he was interested in some Caribbean island conquests, he was not particularly concerned about Guadeloupe, which was eventually to loom large in the debates on the final peace terms. Interestingly, he was much more concerned at this stage to retain the West African forts and trading posts of Senegal and Goree, to which his attention had first been drawn by the Quaker London merchant Thomas Gumming, late 166of New York. Pitt had taken a personal interest in the two expeditions in 1758 that had captured these trading complexes, which were so situated as to give control of the trade in gum senega, used in large quantities in the manufacture of some silk and linen fabrics, and which also sustained a less important but lucrative trade in slaves. 1 About India, Pitt was at this stage silent. His view that there must be substantial returns of conquests as well as big gains seems to have commanded the support of most of his cabinet colleagues.