Isle d'Anticosti Seigniory.
1676, The King granted to Medard Chouart des Groseliers and Pierre
Esprit de Radisson, the exclusive seal fishing of Anticosti island for 20 years (1676-1696). He also granted them permission to take white porpoises in
the St. Lawrence between Montreal and Anticosti, the grant to be void if the
fishing were not carried on continuously.1
1680, Duchesneau granted to Louis Jolliet “en tiltre de fief, seigneurie, haulte, moyenne, et basso justice, l'Isle d'Anticosty,” subject to the condition of “foi et hommage,” also that he keep “feu et lieu.”2
1675, Louis Jolliet, seignior of Anticosti and co-seignior of Isles et Islets
de Mingan, married Claire-Francoise daughter of Francois Bissot, grantee of Isle-aux-Oeufs seigniory. Bissot having died, Jolliet acquired through his
wife, an interest in Bissot's grant.
From the date of this grant, 1680, the interests of the proprietors of
Anticosti, Isles de Mingan and Terre Ferme de Mingan are inextricably
interwoven and have, therefore, been considered under a combined heading (see below).
Islets et Islets de Mingan Seigniory
1679, Intendant Deschesneau granted to Jacques de la Lande and
Louis Jolliet “en titre de fief, Seignenrie, haulte, Moyenne et Basse Justice,
les Isles, et Islets appellée Mingan etans de Costé du Nord, et qui se suivent
jusqu'à la Baye appellée Lance aux Espagnols.”3
Lalande, in 1675, had married Marie Couillard, widow of Francois Bissot
de la Rivière, son of the grantee of Isle-aux-Oeufs (Terre Ferme de Mingan),
and had thus acquired an interest in said grant.
Similarly, Jolliet, as the husband of Bissot's daughter, Claire-Francoise
Bissot, had also acquired an interest in Isle-aux-Oeufs.
As Jolliet was also co-seignior of Isles et Islets de Mingan, the seigniories
of Terre Ferme de Mingan, Isles et Islets de Mingan and Anticosti have been
dealt with under the combined head.
HISTORY OF TERRE FERME DE MINGAN, ISLES ET ISLETS DE MINGAN AND ISLE D'ANTICOSTI SEIGNIORIES.
Bissot, in 1661, on receiving the grant of Isles aux Oeufs, with the right
to make establishments on the “terre ferme,” established himself at what is now Mingan village and erected other establishments on the mainland, the most easterly being at “Ouramane” (Olomanoshibo) river.
Limits of Bissot's grant and of Isles et Islets de Mingan.
Bissot's concession extended eastward “jusqu'aux Sept Isles et dans la
Grande anse, vers les Esquimaux ou les Espagnols font ordinairement la pesche.”
The Isles et Islets de Mingan seigniory extended eastward to “la Baye
appelée Lance aux Espagnole.”
The similarity of verbiage practically demonstrates that both grants
extended to the Baye des Espagnols. A critical examination of the available
evidence discloses the identity of baye des Espagnols with present Bradore bay.
Having considered the early history of the Terre Ferme, Isles de Mingan
and Anticosti seigniories, and the interlocking ownership thereof, it remains
to consider their later history.
History, 1682 to 1760.
1682, a large portion of the lower town of Quebec was burnt. The titles, documents and records of the Bissot family were destroyed.1
1696, Marie Couillard, owner of a half interest in the “terres de Mingan tant terre ferme que isles,” entered into partnership for three years with Francois Vianney Pachot to trade and fish therein.2
1709, Jean Baptiste Bissot de Vincennes transferred to Francois Bissonet
all his rights and claims to a contingent share in the estate of Francois Bissot
de la Rivière. This is the first claim that has been noted as asserting extensive
limits for the Bissot grant. The deed purports to transfer a share of a concession
which extends from “l'isle aux Oeufs jusqu'aux Blanes Sablons, avec
toutes les iles de Mingan et autres contenues dans toute la dite tendue.”3
1713, the palace of the Intendant, at Quebec, was burnt and almost all
the registers of the Conseil d'Etat were destroyed.
1726, Francois Brissonet transferred to Jacques Pichot the whole of his
contingent share of the estate of Bissot de la Riviere, acquired by Brissonet
from Bissot de Vincennes in 1709.4
1733, the heirs of Bissot and Jolliet, were brought before the Courts by
Pierre Carlier, the Adjudicataire General. Carlier demanded that they
produce the title by virtue of which they had taken possession of the extent
of country occupied by them on the north shore of the St. Lawrence below the
Carlier, as Adjudicataire General, controlled the Domaine du Roy, which
extended from Eboulemens Seigniory to a point two leagues below Seven Islands, and therefore, included ile aux Oeufs, conceded to Bissot in 1661.
Carlier contended that, according to the strict language of the aveu of
1668, Bissot was only granted the ile aux Oeufs itself. And that, in fact,
the Compagnie de la Nouvelle France could not give the right of property on the mainland between ile aux Oeufs and Seven Islands, because, in 1653, the Domaine reserve had been declared to extend to a point two leagues below Seven Islands.
While not contesting Bissot's right of property in the ile aux Oeufs,
earlier did contest it as respects the mainland between ile aux Oeufs and the
river Moisie, which is at a point two leagues below Seven Islands. In support
of that contention, he urged that that portion of the mainland had previously been reserved for the Domaine, and that the language of the aveu did not comprise any right of property on the mainland. He, therefore, prayed for a declaration that the Domaine included that portion of the mainland, extending from ile aux Oeufs to the river Moisie.
The heirs Bissot and Jolliet answered that they did not use that portion
of the mainland, and they were willing to abandon it, in order to avoid
litigation and the creation of trouble to the Domaine du Roy.1
Thereupon, Hocquart, by an ordinance duly made, re-united to the Domaine du Roy the land granted to Sieur Bissot (“le terrain concede au Sieur Bissot”) from ile aux Oeufs to cape Cormorant, a prominent point below the river Moisie. And, as to the claim of the Bissots to the remainder of the mainland, Hocquart referred them to the King for a new title.2
1733, following the decision of Intendant Hocquart, Francois Bissot the
second, by a petition to the King, applied for the new title suggested by
Hocquart. Bissot, in his petition, sets forth his claim to the title applied for. He states that, for 60 years, he, and his father before him, had continuously resided on the concession, and operated it in all its extent, by posts subsidiary to the main post of Mingan ; that the English had burnt his buildings three times, and that he had rebuilt them ; that the western part of the concession as far as cape Cormorant, had been re-united to the Crown ; and he asks for a new title to confirm him in the remainder.3
He complains of the invasion of the eastern end of his grant by new
concessions made west of the Baye des Espagnols [Bradore Bay], referring to
the grants that had been made in that area, including that of Lafontaine
which was bounded on the west by the Etamamu river.
He states that he would be satisfied, even if, in granting the new title,
the King should restrict his property to the boundary of the Lafontaine grant; in other words, to time river Itamamiou (Etamamu), and he sums up his
representations by saying:—
“Il luy bien triste, qu'apres une possession de soixante-dix ans . . . . . de s'en voir dépouiller petit à petit. L'acte de foy et hommage dont il a honneur de joindre copie collationnée, prouve que ce
terrain a été concédé a son père . . . . . et il supplie . . . . . qu'il sur ses vieux jours goûter la tranquillité que ces travaux dans des semblables endroits pouvaient lui permettre.”
1736, by an ordinance, issued by Hocquart at the instance of d'Haudebourg,
part-owner and lessee of Mingan, Brouague, concessionaire of Baye-de-Phelypeau, was forbidden to trade within the limits of “Mingan et dependences.”1
1733, the Comte de Maurepas wrote Beauharnois and Hocquart asking
for additional information and for confirmation of the statements made by
Bissot in his petition in 1733.2
1739, Maurepas wrote Beauharnois and Hocquart that, as the Bissots
had traded, hunted and fished “sans aucun trouble dans une étendue
de côte de prés de cent cinquante lieues, il est juste d'avoir égard à toutes ces circonstances, et elles m'auraient déterminé à proposer au Roy de confirmer les heritiers Bissot dans la possession d'une partie de cette étendue de côte et de fixer leur état.”
Maurepas stated that he would recommend that the concession be limited to the coast between the Domaine du Roy and Lafontaine's concession, with such depth as Beauharnois and Hocquart recommend.3
1740, the King, in confirming the grant of Gros-Mecatina and its augmentation, excluded the islands opposite. As the original grant included these islands in Gros-Mecatina concession, this was virtually an acknowledgment that these islands had been found to be included in Isles de Mingan seigniory.4
1743, an ordinance by Hocquart fixed the rental of these islands at three
per cent upon the seals taken by the concessionaires of Gros-Mecatina. The seigniors of Isles et Islets de Mingan were also empowered to exact the same rental from other holders of concessions on the mainland opposite their
1743, Hocquart fixed the amount due to Lafontaine, as rental of the
islands opposite Gros-Mecatina, at 5096 livres for the preceding four years.6
1745, Charles Jolliet, as part-owner of Mingan, leased his interest to Jean
Lefebvre for three years, (1745 to 1748).7
The history of the Isles et Islets de Mingan down to 1763, is summarised
by Lafontaine in a memoir which accompanied his letter to the Earl of Halifax.8
Lafontaine states that Jolliet and Lalande developed the seal fisheries Halifax,of the islands; that these fisheries were continued by their heirs and representatives; that sedentary fisheries were established by Lafontaine and that he was the first to establish such fisheries.
Lafontaine further states that the title to the islands was not challenged till 1739, when Pommereau applied for a concession of Gros-Mecatina; that the concession was granted, Beauharnois and Hocquart being ignorant of the extent of Isles et islets de Mingan; that, upon the petition of the seigniors, Beauharnois and Hocquart fixed the rental payable by concessionaires of the mainland opposite to Isles et Islets de Mingan, at 12 livres for each league of islands occupied by said concessionaires and that, in 1743, the rental was increased to three per cent of the produce from the islands occupied.
Lafontaine, in his memorial, also refers to the continuity of fishing and hunting operations in the Terre Ferme de Mingan, Anticosti, and Isles et Islets de Mingan seigniories and his statement may be summed up as an assertion that, from the date of the grant, 1680, the fisheries and hunting of Anticosti had been continuously operated by heirs Jolliet and Lalande, or their lessees, constituting practically the same interests as operated the Terre Ferme and Isles et Islets de Mingan seigniories.1
Terre Ferme de Mingan Seigniory.
Lafontaine, in 1763, stated that:2
(1) Bissot de la Rivière operated Mingan from 1661 till his death (in 1678 ?)
(2) His eldest son, Francois Bissot, operated Mingan for 40 years
after his father's death (1678 to 1718), jointly with his brother-in-law, Louis Jolliet, who had married Claire-Francoise Bissot in 1673. Since that date (1718), it had been held jointly by the heirs of Francois Bissot
(3) 1733, Bissot leased Mingan to his son-in-law, Jacques de Lafontaine, who operated it for one year.
(4) 1734, Bissot leased Mingan to Volant d'Haudebourg, who
operated it for 21 years (1740-1761).
(5) Mingan was burnt by the English in 1690, 1711, and 1769 (an error for 1759).
(6) 1761, it was leased to Joseph Isbister for nine years (1761-1770).
(7) That General Murray had forced the Bissot and Jolliet heirs to
give a lease of Terre Ferme de Mingan to Isbister.
(8) That the Terre Ferme de Mingan seigniory extended from cape Cormorant to the Ouramaine (Olomanoshibo) river; that, at the last-named point, the ancestors of the seigniors had always had their most easterly establishment and that it was still (1763) in operation.
Isles de Islets de Mingnan Seigniory.
Lafontaine, in 1763, stated that:3
(1) In 1679, Isles et Islets de Mingan seigniory was conceded to
Jolliet and Lalande.