p. 995 C
[Translation of No. 244.]
PETITION TO THE KING
FROM JEAN TACHE AND THE HEIRS BISSOT AND JOLIET, NEW CANADIAN SUBJECTS, PRESENTED BY PIERRE HOUDIN, THEIR ATTORNEY.
C. O. 42. Volume 6.
SIRE,—The heirs Bissot and Joliet, seigniors for over a century of the mainland of Mingan, of the Mingan isles and islets and of the isle of Anticosty; and Jean Taché owner for life of the Post of St. Modet (the said property being situated on the river St. Lawrence) are compelled to appeal to Your Majesty's sense of justice so that they may be maintained in the possession of their property.
As a result of the boundaries drawn in 1763 between the provinces of Quebec and Newfoundland, the greater part of their seigniories have been placed under the government of the latter province. In 1763 they commenced to be disturbed in their possessions, a frigate having ordered back the vessels which had left Quebec (although provided with passports) to go and work the post of St. Modet and other posts in the said seigniories, and continuous libels and threats having forced their lessee of the Mingan seigniory to take refuge within the limits of the province of Quebec, the result of which has been a considerable prejudice to the said heirs in particular: to over 500 of your new subjects, deprived of their usual labour, and to the province of Quebec generally through the entire loss of the fisheries; such a loss cannot be made up as the fisheries in this district can only be carried on a certain time in the winter when fish is migrating and consequently can only be worked by people residing in the region.
Your Majesty is too just to countenance oppression and too humane to be shown the situation of 50 of the said heirs reduced to beggary through the misfortunes of war and that their ancestors were granted these seignories as a reward for having shed their blood in fighting and subjecting the Indians in these parts and for their discoveries, all of which made for the building up of a country now passed into Your Majesty's possession by the victory of his arms. Nay, Sir, your new subjects need not have recourse to such pitiable arguments with a Monarch actuated by a sense of justice! The mere recital of their rights is sufficient for Your Majesty.
As far as the heirs Bissot and Joliet are concerned these rights consist of:
1o The seigniory of the mainland of Mingan, extending from the cape of the Cormorant, as far as the bay Phelippaux or Spaniards' inlet. 2o The seigniory of the isles and islets of Mingan, on the same front as the mainland. 3o The seigniory of the isle of Anticosti. 4o The reunion to the mainland of Mingan, of a part of the said seigniory called the post of Greater Mecatina, which had been separated therefrom for nine years only and the enjoyment of which was subsequently granted in 1762, for 7 years to the sieur John Gray, merchant, by His Excellency, General Murray, who was aware that this part of the trades was neglected, the Canadians ruined, they being then unable to develop the same; such reunion being asked only after the expiration of the 7 years of enjoyment granted to the said sieur John Gray who pays rent to the said heirs. The rights of the sieur Jean Taché consist in the enjoyment for life of the post of St. Modet.
The heirs Bissot and Joliet and the sieur Jean Taché satisfied that Your Majesty takes more glory from the welfare and tranquillity he intends to be enjoyed by his new subjects than from his conquests, most confidently and respectfully beg of Your Majesty, at the foot of the throne, that he may be pleased to give to the Newfoundland government instructions that they be no longer disturbed in their possessions and that they may on the contrary, enjoy peaceably and as their exclusive property their said seigniories and posts, either themselves or through their lessees as they have enjoyed the same for a century, and that the Governor of the said province be served with Your Majesty's order so that he may not plead ignorance thereof. Such is the justice requested of you Sire, by the heirs Bissot and Joliet and the sieur Jean Taché who their hearts filled with the most respectful gratitude, shall not cease to pray for the glory and welfare of your Majesty's realm, and so shall the petitioner who, in lending assistance to unfortunate fellow countrymen, has no other end in view than to proclaim Your Majesty's justice.