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D.—DOCUMENTS RELATING TO THE SETTLEMENTS AND WORK OF THE MORAVIAN MISSIONARIES.



No. 429.

EXTRACT FROM THE PETITION OF THE SOCIETY OF THE UNITAS FRATRUM TO THE LORDS OF TRADE.


      TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE LORDS COMMISSIONERS OF TRADE AND PLANTATIONS.
*               *               *               *               *
SHEWETH,
      That the said Unitas Fratrum, desiring to the utmost of their power to propagate the Gospel of Our Lord . . . . And that to the same end Jens Haven, one of the above mentioned Petitioners, was sent last summer to Terra Labrador, in order if possible to find out whether the Language of the so called Eskimaux be the same with that of our Indian Brethren in Davis's Straits, in which undertaking of his by the favour of the Lords of the Admiralty, & the kindness of Governor Palliser, he was enabled to make some progress, & found to our great Satisfaction, that the Language was the same, & met with an unusually kind treatment from those Savages he came to the Speech of.—The endeavours of the said Jens Haven having met with so much success, the Unitas Fratrum also perceiving that this undertaking has been agreable to the Lords Commissioners of Trade & Plantations (who were pleased to express a desire that the Brethren would settle in those parts) have after mature deliberation resolved in the name of God, & Our Lord Jesus Christ, to do everything in their power towards the conversion & Civilizing the Savage Natives of that inhospitable Country . . . . But seeing the Esquimaux are not only a Savage Nation but even provoked by the former behaviour of the Europeans in general to such a degree, that even killing as well Robbing & stealing is become their ordinary Custom . . . . Therefore it is humbly hoped, that the English Nation if they on their side ever wish to see the Fishery on that Coast Secure from the Depredations of those barbarous People by their becoming Civilized will not only do all in their power to prevent our Mission among them from being disturbed or molested in any wise, but will also in all respects be inclined to wish well to the same, and readily grant us all needful & proper protection & assistance . . . . Your Petitioners beg leave to make the following Proposals.  (1) That a proper Vessel be appointed & Fitted out by the Government either from hence or from Newfoundland in order that the Coasts of Labrador be more thoroughly & Solidly visited than hitherto, in order to be better acquainted with the Situation of the Country, with the Rivers & Harbours, and also with the divers Inhabitants in different parts of the said Coasts . . . .

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      The aforesaid Jens Haven, & Christian Brackhart who having been a Missionary many years understands & speaks their Language, & besides them two other Brethren, one of whom is an Englishman & the other a German, who hath some knowledge in the mathematics offer themselves to go in the said Ship . . . .
      To which purpose it is humbly proposed that a proper Commission thereto be given to those four Brethren by the Government & consequently the Captain of the said Vessell be instructed to regulate his motions according to the desire of the said Commission and also as to his stay in each place, and how far the Boats may go up the Rivers they may meet with . . . . We therefore Petition,
      That Four Different Tracts of Land on the Coast of Labrador for the use of the Mission be now beforehand Allotted & Secured to us, by the Government . . . . And as Terra Labrador is a Country where hardly any other Europeans will make a fixed Settlement . . . . We desire that these four Tracts of Land in four different parts making altogether 400,000 Acres may be granted to us in the above manner.
      And as we ought to take care that the Missions be Settled in such places and parts of the Country where the Natives are most likely to find whereon to Subsist, & of Consequence to resort in greatest numbers, therefore we should have leave to fix upon such Districts & Situations as may seem to us most convenient, & Serviceable to our Aim.
      We should have leave also in the Grant & be properly impower'd to fix upon at pleasure Bays & Navigable Rivers with the Shores on both Sides thereof. to give these Districts their Distinct names, to make Draughts & Maps thereof, in order to lay them before the Government, the whole not to exceed 400,000 acres in all . . . . We desire also to have liberty (on that part of the Coast where we are to be put in possession in four different places of the said Tracts of Land according to the aforesaid Dimensions as our duely granted property) and be invested with the right of forming Harbours, & to be owners thereof under the gracious protection of the Crown of Great Brittain, not by any means with the right of excluding others or to hinder the Ships of any British Subject to enter the said Harbours, but yet that such Ships and their Crews be bound while there to Conform to the Orders and Regulations made in our Settlements agreable to the Laws, and in case of offence to be oblidged to answer for it either to the Governor of Newfoundland or at Home.
      We should also have full Liberty to send Ships of English Bottom & under English Colours to Labrador and into the Bays as well as the inland Seas of that Country, and back again to any other Port of the English Dominions.
      And that good Order may be maintained in our future Settlements there from the beginning we think it will be a proper method for our Brethren which shall be establish'd in those parts, from time to time to propose to the Governor of Newfoundland such Persons in our Settlements as may be fit for it, out of whom he may choose one or more in every place of our Missions, as

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Circumstances may require, to be legally & in the name of his Majesty appointed to the office of a Justice of the Peace.
      As to any objections which might be started concerning any of the aforesaid Points, or in general whether it can be expected that his Majesty or the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of Trade & Plantations should grant us such Privileges as seem to belong only to British born Subjects; the natural answer seems to be, that we are the first Adventurers and consequently the first Inhabitants & Subjects to the Crown of England in Terra Labrador; neither do we think. it unreasonable, that seeing we venture our lives in order to obtain this Salutary end, so useful to the English Nation in the end, and even directly, that the said English Nation should consider our Brethren as faithful, good & useful Subjects & fellow Citizens, and gladly so far encourage our undertaking; so much the rather as there are no other Inhabitants in Terra Labrador, who could object thereto, or whose priviledges might suffer by such Concessions, especially also as this Country was never Subject to any known Laws; etc . . . . .

    LINDSEY HOUSE CHELSEA
          the 23d of February 1765.

[1927lab]

 

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