The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume VI

July 1766.

15 August 1766.

9th October 1766.




p. 2763

His Majs Proclamation to the savages within the Province, & that they or others transgressing in such case should be prosecuted according to law.
The Receiver General arrived from England, and having examined into the state of the Kings Domain & the lease thereof granted, and finding that Mr. Alsop & Co. still persisted in erecting buildings thereon to the great hurt of the Leasees and detriment of the Kings Revenue notwithstanding the notice that had been given them, moved the Governor & Council to reconsider the case & grant protection to the Leasees who had on their parts in every respect fulfilled the conditions of the Lease, begging it might be made known to all His Majs subjects that the Posts of the Domain were by no means laid open & that all other persons whatsoever might be strictly forbid to trade thereto. At same time an affidavit of Mr. Peter Stuart a Justice of the Peace residing at the Posts as Agent for the Leasees, was laid before the Council setting forth, that Messrs. Alsop, Chinn & Co. had traded with the Indians of the Domain, supply'd them with quantitys of spirits the preceeding winter which kept them idle instead of hunting as usual for their support & rendered it dangerous to reside at the Posts & that they actually had erected buildings there contrary to the King's Proclamation & the orders of the Governor & Council, and further that Mr. Chinn had declared he did not value the Orders of the Governor & Council and would proceed with his buildings.
The Honble Paulus E. Irving, Esqr. Commander in chief & President of the Council for the time being taking the matter further into consideration with consent & advice of the Council ordered a warrant to issue to said Mr. Peter Stuart authorising him to take down & remove all buildings which were or should be erected by Messrs. Alsop, Chinn & Co., their agents or others on His Majestys Domain and a party of men was dispatched to see the warrant put in execution.
Lieut. Governor Carleton being arrived, application was made to him by Messrs. Alsop, Chinn & Co., requesting a suspension of the warrant granted by Col. Irving to take down & remove their buildings, which suspension was granted and another party of men sent to recall the other, and to put Messrs. Alsop, Chinn & Co. into possession with free liberty to trade with the Indians of the Domain.
I do certify the above to be a true state of the case.


As Messrs. Alsop, Chinn & others may have complained of the Posts being farmed as a measure detrimental to the trade of the Province and may have insinuated that their being laid open would occasion a greater consumption of British manufactures, it may not be improper here to remark
That the country those Indians inhabit being altogether incapable of cultivation and the hunting season lasting but for about six months of the year, they are reduced to almost an entire dependance the rest of the time on the supplys brought them by the person farming the Posts. It is well

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known that all savage people are naturally indolent and calculate only for the present moment, and were they indulged at pleasure with spirituous liquors to which they are unconquerably addicted, and which the introducing a general trade among them must inevitably occasion from the natural competition that would arise among contending adventurers they would in a few days perhaps often in a few hours consume the whole produce of their years labour, and on the approach of the rigorous winter finding themselves, wives & children naked, destitute & exposed to all the miserys of that climate, would wreck* their vengeance indiscriminately on the first Europeans or other white people they met as the immediate authors of their misfortune. To prevent these impending consequences which were seen & proved by many examples to be inseparable from the plan of laying the Posts open, the French who more than any other nation seem to have study'd the temper and genius of the Indians, adopted this plan of farming out the Posts & it is plain they succeeded in it. Clerks or Factors were established at the different Posts to supply the savages with what their necessitys reasonably required, rates were fixed for the trade—when an Indian family came to a Post, whether they had been successful in their hunting or had nothing to exchange, they were alwise* supplyd with necessarys until the chance of the hunt should enable him to pay, and in case of sickness or death, their wives and orphans were maintained & supported until capable to provide for themselves. This created the strongest tyes of gratitude, friendship & interest in both partys. The Indian was spurr'd to industry & eagerly pursued the most probable means of obtaining wherewith to repay his Benefactor, & to fit himself & family out anew for another season. The merchant farming the Posts, his agents or factors on the other hand were bound by interest to supply the Indian, to keep him sober & support him in distress as the only means to recover his property, for if the poor savage is abandoned in the hour of want, or dyes by means of intoxication, as he leaves no property behind him so the merchant loses his debt. By this friendly intercourse, by this fatherly treatment of the Indians, which the French have alwise found it their interest to practice and encourage, the Indians saw the exchange or traffick they made with the eyes of sober reflection, looked forward with joy for the returning season of meeting with the trader whom they considered as their Father friend and benefactor, were pleased upon a re-view of their past transactions, and formed in the course of them such an attachment to the Trader & the nation to which he belonged as neither time, change of power, the adress of the English nor any other consideration could efface. The proof of this is undeniable in the late troubles when the* massacred almost every English subject they could lay hands on, and at same time allowed the French Canadian Traders not only a free access as their friends, but were by their interposition prevailed on to release or ransom such of the prisoners as were alive when they came to a parley at the late affair of Michilimackinac. By this system of management the affections of the Indians were also secured to the Crown without any expence to Government besides a clear revenue arising to the King. By laying them open every

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the lowest of the people whose credit may extend to a cask of spirits will have access to them & take advantage of their simplicity. All those salutary purposes above mentioned will be frustrated, for it is irreconcilable to reason & the nature of things, that it can consist with the interest of any individual to keep large storehouses with quantitys of provisions & merchandize for the supply of the Indians without being assured of the produce of their hunting to pay the expence which cannot be while he is liable to be robbed of his returns by the first stragler who is wicked enough to intercept the Indian on his way to his Post & by alluring him with liquor, deprive the Indian of a future credit. And yet without such a sure & permanent resource of a fixed storehouse, the savages must often perish in numbers from mere want, so that in a little time almost the whole of the trade to the Domain will be confined to selling spirits to the Indians which from the contiguity of the Posts to the inhabited parts of the Province will be utterly impossible to hinder the lower sort of people from carrying among them. The Indian who has thus invested his produce, glutted himself with liquor, & on the return of reason sees himself & family naked & abandoned, now destitute of the resource of a certain credit he formerly was sure of in all circumstances, will naturally inveigh against the man he has been injured by, and if he happens to survive the misery he is by this means exposed to, will be sure to revenge himself the first opportunity on the first of the color he meets with. Hence murders, rapine and devastation must ensue. An instance has already happened by a New England Vessel putting into these Posts since we have been in possession of the Country when several Indians were murdered, and had it not been for the timely interposition of the General who with trouble got them soothed & ordered a recompence to the suffering familys of the Indians who were killed, it's hard to say where the vindictive spirit of these people might have carried them. On the whole it is plain that instead of increasing the consumption of manufactures as may be pretended, the sure & inevitable consequences that must follow the measure of laying the Posts open, will be fatal in their immediate effects, will depopulate the country and end in almost the total extirpation of these unhappy people in a few years time, will bring the present consumption of manufactures to nothing & by losing the people will follow a total loss of the returns to Britain.

The above remarks coincide entirely with my
Notions and Opinions of the matters in


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May the 26th, 1767.
My Lords
The lands of the Kings Domain were never ceded to nor purchased by the French King, nor by His Britannick Majesty; but by compact with the savages inhabiting the said lands, the particular Posts or Spots of ground, whereon the Kings buildings are erected and now stand, were ceded to the French King, for the purpose of erecting storehouses & other conveniences for the Factors, Commis or Servants employed to carry on the trade ; and the savages residing within the limits of the Domain, & who resort to the said Posts of His Majesty at certain seasons of the year, were adopted as Domicile Indians under the sole & immediate protection of the King, & so remained till the reduction of the Province, & a Missionary was sent to reside constantly among them. The lands of the Domain therefore, are to all intents & purposes reserved, as hunting grounds to the savages, of which they are ever jealous, on the least appearance of an encroachment even amongst themselves.
With what propriety therefore, could the Governor have complyd with Mr. Alsops petition for grants of land there? would it not have been in direct contradiction to His Majs. Proclamation? & I flatter myself the contempt he has shown to the said Royal Proclamation & his Majs. Government; will be far from entitling him to the favour he claims from the Kings servants here. I must further add that this man has been the author of all the disputes, factions, & jealousies which have taken place, since the establishment of civil government in the colony, and I firmly believe his enterprize to these Posts was with a view to augment the same, he being the only man who attempted it corroborates this opinion.
I have the honor to be with great Truth and Regard

My Lords your Lordships most obedient, and
most humble Servant,
Endorsed :
State of the Posts of the
King's Domain in Canada,
with an Abstract of Proceedings
relating thereto since the
reduction of that Country.
Presented by Govr. Murray.
   D. 7.
Recd. May 26.

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