The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume VII

1 Cugnet to the
30 October, 1743.

2 Cugnet to
2 July, 1746.

3 Ibid.

4 Cugnet to
2 July, 1746.

5 Lease by Bigot to
Veuve Fornel et Cie.,
9 September, 1749.

6 Concession
Jonquière and Bigot
to Veuve Fornel,
20 September, 1743.

7 Memoire of Veuve
Fornel et Cie., to the
Intendant, 1750.

1 Bigot to the
30 October, 1750.

2 Commission by
Bigot to St.
18 July, 1755

3 Opinion of
Solicitor General
12 June, 1786.

4 Murray to Lords
of Trade
26 May, 1767.

5 Murray to Ainslie
23 June, 1767.

6 Ainslie to In-
spector General,
7 August 1786.

7 Murray to Lords
of Trade
25 May, 1767.

8 Murray to
Earl of Halifax (?)
26 June, 1760.

1 Murray to Pitt,
32 October, 1760.

2 Murray to
6 March, 1761.

3 Murray to
5 June, 1762.

4 Lease of King's
Posts by Murray
20 September, 1762.

5 Royal Proclama-
tion, 7 October, 1763.

6 Report by Murray,
re King's Posts,
26 May, 1764.

7 John Gray to
Board of Trade
21 January, 1764.

1 Memorial by Gray,
Dunn & Murray
to the Lords of the
(January, 1764.)

2 Ibid.

3 Report by Murray
re King's Posts
26 May, 1767

4 Ibid.

1 Imperial Order in Council
26 June, 1767.

2 Report by Murray
re King's Posts 26 May, 1767.

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid.

p. 3124

position to intercept Indian trade and to attract the Indians of the region immediately north of the northern watershed of the St. Lawrence, Cugnet, Director of the Domaine du Roy, submitted a memoire to Beauharnois and Hocquart. He represented that Fornel, under cover of the establishment of a fishery, was preparing to divert to his post at Nord-Ouest river the trade of the Indians inhabiting the country in the rear of Mingan and Baye de Phelypeau and the trade of the northern Indians who had, thitherto, traded with the lessee of the Domaine and whose trade properly appertained to said lessee.1
Cugnet's memoire is valuable as proof of the trading control that the lessees of the Domaine and the concessionaires of the gulf of St. Lawrence and Atlantic coasts had been exercising over the Indians of the upper Hamilton, Kaniapiskau, Fort George and Rupert rivers.
Cugnet points out that Fornel had astutely left in charge of his trading and hunting operations, one Jean Pilote ; that Pilote had been employed several years in the Domaine and that he was very well qualified to attract to his post the Indians of lakes Naskapis (Ashuanapi), Manikuagan, Mistassini and Cheburochouane.2
Following the return of Pilote, Cugnet, in 1746, applied for a concession for 9 years (1746 to 1755) of the basin of Baie de Kitchichatsou (Hamilton inlet), of Cap-Charles concession and of all unconceded lands between the strait of Belleisle and Hudson strait. He also applied for a lease, for the same period, of the Domaine du Roy, stating that he proposed to develop the new concession, jointly with the Domaine.3
Doubtless as a result of information obtained respecting the wintering-post established by Pilote in 1743, he points out that a post could advantageously be established “à quarante lieues dans la profondeur de la Baie de Kitchechatsou sur une Rivière venant du Nord-Ouest” —present Northwest or Naskapi river.3
In stating his financial difficulties in connection with the enterprises, Cugnet throws some light on the extent of his operations as lessee of the Domaine. Thus, he says that he has two sea-going vessels. He refers to the results of the operations at “Chouanipi” (Ashuanipi Lake) post, which demonstrates that this post was in operation during 1745-46. 4

1749, the Domaine du Roy was leased to the widow Fornel and Company for 6 years (1749-1755)5 and the Baye-des-Esquimaux concession was granted to the widow Fornel for 12 years (1749-1761).6
The King having disapproved the lease of the Domaine, the widow Fornel and Company, in 1750, fyled a strong protest. They pointed out that, if the trade were interrupted, the Indians would carry their furs to Three Rivers, Batiscan, Timiskaming, Hudson Bay or Mingan and that the traders of Mingan habitually sent traders as far as the limits of the Domaine. Fornel and Co. stated that, in 1749, they had sent presents to the Indians; that their envoy had promised to meet the Indians at Chicoutimi in 1750 and to treat them as if they were his own children ; that, if there was a sudden change of lessees, the Indians would be bewildered and, becoming estranged, would resort to other posts where they would obtain brandy.7

p. 3125

In Intendant Bigot's protest against the cancellation of the Fornel lease, he points out that if the lease were granted to unreliable persons, they would annihilate the fur-bearers and exterminate the Indians by supplying them with large quantities of brandy. He also stresses the importance of the low prices charged by widow Fornel and Company as preventing the Indians going to Hudson Bay to trade.1
Bigot also refers to certain information which he had received from the missionary at Tadoussac, which proves that during 1748 and 1749, the missionary was still at that post.

1755, the Sieur de Laurent was instructed to make an inventory and valuation of the buildings, merchandise, etc., in the posts of the Domaine du Roy to ascertain the compensation to be paid to the then lessees, Fornel and Co., by the new lessee, the new lease to be offered at auction.2 Solicitor General Jenkin Williams, in 1788, stated that, on the expiration of the French lease, “the King thought fit to resume the Management of the Posts.”3


The affairs of the Domaine du Roy (King's Posts) received early consideration by General Murray. In 1760, the Indians of the Domaine (King's Posts), through their chief and the missionary, represented to General Murray that “they were in the utmost misery and distress” and begged that they be supplied and maintained by the British “in the same manner as they had been in the time of the French.” 4
June, 1760, Thomas Ainslie was appointed Agent for the King in the King's Posts.5 He was instructed to “take the Savages of that Domaine under the protection of the King.”6 to supply them with merchandise, to receive the returns on the King's account,7 to obtain a statement of the goods required for the Indian trade and as full knowledge as possible concerning said trade and to make as full an inventory as possible of the cattle and crops at each post.
An officer and detachment of soldiers were ordered to the Posts to preserve order and to prevent abuses and irregularity.7
Ainslie states that he was accompanied by the “Rev'd. Mr. Cocquart, the priest who had the charge of these particular Tribes” ; that he also visited the posts in 1761 and that, in 1762, he deputed John Gray to supply his “place & meet the Indians.” He states that, in 1762, there were detachments of the 35th Regiment quartered at Tadoussac, Chicoutimi and Islets-de-Jeremie.6
In General Murray's despatch of 26 June, 1760, he states that, owing to the arrival of the British fleet in 1759, the French were unable to supply the posts, but his despatch makes it clear that there had been no absolute cessation of trade.8
A few months later, Murray states that he has opened “the fur trade to all ranks of men without distinction, it was, as I have observed, formerly

p. 3126

confined to a few. I shall give particular attention to the Indians and that they are not cheated or abused by the traders and I have not hitherto allow'd the vending of spirituous liquors.”1
Murray also points out that the King “has a right to the fifth of the sales of all Fiefs or Lordships, likewise to Fines of Alienations, upon all exchanges of inheritance.” He states that he had remonstrated against the sale of furs from the King's Posts by the Navy as lawful prizes and had claimed them for the King.2

1762, General Murray reported on the state of the Government of Quebec. He states that the Eskimo resorted to the strait of Belleisle in summer, and that the French had traded with them though their mutual relations had not always been amicable.3
Respecting the Montagnais and Naskapis, he says that, while the Naskapis were forced to trade with the Hudson's Bay Co. during the war, “they would have ever reverted [on the conclusion of peace] to those who were Masters of the River St. Lawrence.”
Murray states that the traders estimated that the Indians between Mingan and Labrador (Bradore) bay did not number more than 80 to 100 families and that those trading at the King's Posts might number 220 families.

1762 Murray leased the King's Posts to Thomas Dunn and John Gray for an annual rental of £400 cy., for a term of one year certain and 14 years additional (1762-1777) “providing no Order to the contrary should arrive from Great Britain.”4

7 October, 1763, the King issued a Royal Proclamation which provided that the trade with the Indians “shall be free and open to all our Subjects,” provided that such person took out a license. General Murray was doubtful whether the lease of the King's Posts was, or was not, affected by the Proclamation.5
Following the granting of the lease to Dunn and Gray, certain persons contended that the terms of the Royal Proclamation nullified the clause in the lease providing that the lessess should have the privilege of exclusive trade.6

1764, the lessees presented a memorial to the Board of Trade. In it, they pointed out that, under the existing system, “the Indians are peaceable, and satisfied with their situation, and their friendship secured to the Crown, without any expence to the Government” ; that, if the trade were thrown open, it would not be to the interest of any individual to provide at his posts “stores of Goods & provisions, lodged there for the whole year, as is now the case” ; that, if such provision were not made, the Indians might become discontented, and that, in such an extensive area, it would be impossible to prevent evil disposed persons committing abuses.7
The lessees stated that “the necessary measures followed, for preserving the friendship of the Indians, led us unavoidably into a very large expense of advancing them Goods and necessarys upon Credit.”

p. 3127

In a memorial presented to the Lords of the Treasury the lessees pointed out that if the Indians were “indulged with Spirituous Liquors and other superfluitys . . . . they would, in a few weeks, consume the whole produce of their years labour, and on the approach of the rigorous winter find themselves naked and exposed to the utmost misery, and wreak their vengeance indiscriminately on the first Europeans or other white people they met with..... On this account the Persons farming these posts are obliged by the tenor of their Lease to furnish them with necessarys and provisions in proportion to their real wants and circumstances and as they are often sick or unsuccessful, to give them Credit, and support their Familys until fortune puts it in their power to pay,” whereas, if the trade were thrown open, unprincipled persons would deprive the Indians of their resources.1
They further pointed out that, while a “universal revolt [Pontiac's War] appears to have been entered into, by all the other Indian nations in North America, those immediately under his [General Murray's] jurisdiction have not only remained faithful and peaceable, but when earnestly solicited to join the disaffected Tribes, they firmly declared that . . . they had at no time before, met with better Treatment or more Justice, than since the English have been in possession of Canada.”2
At least three-fourths of the Indians referred to in the preceding paragraph resided in the “Indian Lands” and were, therefore, outside the limits of the Government of Quebec as defined by the Proclamation of 1763.

1765, Allsopp, Chinn & Co. applied to the Government of Quebec “for special permission to trade with the Indians of the Domain in particular.” General Murray granted the applicants “a general permission to trade with the Indians within the Province [of Quebec] in conformity” with the terms of the Royal Proclamation.3

1766, Thomas Mills was appointed Receiver General for the Province of Quebec. He was also “charged with the Superintendency of the King's Domain and Estates in Canada to receive the Rents and Revenues thereof and to enquire into the State and nature of the lease of the Posts of the Domain.” Pending his arrival in Canada. Mills instructed the Acting Receiver General that the lessees be supported “in the uninterrupted possession of their lease until His Majesty's pleasure should be further known.” 4
Upon the application of the Acting Receiver General, the Governor and Council of Quebec forbade Allsopp. Chinn & Co. to erect buildings within the King's Posts. Notwithstanding this prohibition, Allsopp, Chinn & Co. established themselves at Tadoussac, Chicoutimi and Lake St. John, traded with the Indians of the King's Posts and supplied the Indians with liquor.

August 1766, Col. Paulus Irving, President of the Council, authorised the agent for the lessees to remove the buildings erected by Allsopp, Chinn & Co. Following the arrival of Lieut.-Governor Carleton, Allsopp, Chinn & Co. obtained from him an order suspending the warrant granted by Col. Irving authorising the removal of their buildings. Carleton granted them “free liberty to trade with the Indians of the Domaine.” 4

p. 3128

1767, an Imperial Order in Council ordered that the buildings erected by Allsopp, Chinn & Co. be demolished and that the goods sent there be returned to them.1
General Murray, in 1767, made a vigorous defense of his policy of excluding from the King's Posts every one but the lessees and their employees. He stated in emphatic language the advantages of such policy and the injurious effects of throwing this area open to all traders.2
Murray pointed out that, as the hunting season only lasted for about six months of the year, the Indians were dependent for half the year upon the supplies advanced to them by the lessees ; that, if they were allowed to purchase unlimited quantities of liquor from the competing traders, they would consume in a few hours, “the whole produce of their years labour, and on the approach of the rigorous winter, finding themselves, Wives and Children naked, destitute and exposed to all the miserys of that climate, would wreak their Vengeance indiscriminately on the first Europeans or other White people they met.”
Murray stated that the French had adopted the leasing system and had been successful. When an Indian family arrived at a French post in the Domaine, they were supplied with necessaries either in exchange for furs, or, if their hunt had been unsuccessful, on credit. If the husband died, the widow and children were assisted until able to provide for themselves. It was to the interest of the lessee that the Indians should not perish from want or privation, as the native had no property from which he could obtain repayment of his advances. As a result, the Indian looked upon the trader as his benefactor and, during the war, 1755 to 1760, the British had not been able to alienate the French Indians.
Murray also pointed out that, as a result of such attachment the Indians, during Pontiac's War, had “massacred almost every English subject they could lay hands on, and at the 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” English prisoners at Michilimackinac.3
Murray stated that, if the trade were thrown open, it would not be to the interests of the lessees or anyone else to advance large quantities of merchandise. ammunition, etc., when there was no reasonable prospect of obtaining repayment.4
Murray also stated that the lands of the Domaine were never ceded or purchased from the Indians by the King of France or the King of Great Britain : that the lands required for the individual posts were acquired by agreement from the Indians of each locality ; that the Indians residing within the limits of the Domaine “were adopted as Domicile Indians under the sole and immediate protection of the King, and so remained till the reduction of the Province and a Missionary was sent to reside constantly among them. The lands of the Domaine, therefore, are to all intents and purposes, reserved as hinting grounds for the Savages.”
It was, probably, due to the energetic protest of General Murray, that


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