[Enclosure in No. 1248.]
MEMORIAL TO THE LORDS, COMMISSIONERS OF THE TREASURY BY RICHARD MURRAY JOHN GRAY & THOMAS DUNN.
ARCHIVES OF CANADA. COLONIAL OFFICE PAPERS, VOL. I, p. 169.
To the Right Honble the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury.
The Memorial of Richard Murray John Gray & Thomas Dunn.
That Your Memorialists being Residenters in Canada, have for some time farmed the Posts of the Kings Domain, situated on the north Side of the River St. Lawrence, commonly known by the names of Tadoussac, Chicoutimy, Jeremies and Seven Islands which are places of Rendezvous for some Tribes of Indians inhabiting the northern parts of lower Canada, whither they resort to trade for European Commodities and provisions; for which Your Memorialists pay at the rate of four hundred Pounds p. annum, being the highest offer. The Country these Indians inhabit being alltogether incapable of Cultivation, and the hunting Season lasting but for about Six months in the year, they are reduced to an entire dependance for support, the rest of the time, upon the supplys brought them by the Traders.
They are naturally a very inconsiderate people, and were they indulged with Spirituous Liquors and other superfluitys, to which they are unconquerably addicted, 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, as the immediate authors of their misfortune. 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, And in ease of death, to maintain their Widows and Orphans, till they are capable of providing for themselves, But should these Posts be laid open, numbers of people void of principle, and who have no Characters to Lose, would croud in among them, with a view to take advantage of their Simplicity, and deprive
them of those Resources they are now often obliged to have recourse to, for one half of the year.
The French who more than any other Nation, seem to have study'd the nature & genius of the Indians were sensible of these disadvantages & therefore established Factors, or obliged the Farmers to do so, at the Posts above mentioned, to supply the Savages abundantly with what their necessitys reasonably Required, Common rates were fixed and agreed upon, for the exchange of every Commoditie, so that the Indian knew the Standard value of whatever he brought to market. The Leasees were restricted as to the quantity of Spirits, they were allowed to distribute among them. All others were excluded from a Commerce in these Posts, for the better maintainance of Good order, and Securing their affections, for by this means the Offenders could be immediately detected, in case any injury or injustice were offered to this ignorant, unwary but vindictive people.
The present Governor, General Murray, sensible of the propriety of this method of managing the Indians, in that quarter of the Country, and in consequence of their own Solicitations, as well as to prevent abuses, which might have had dangerous effects, thought proper hitherto, to continue them on the same footing as formerly. He has by this means, conciliated the minds of the Savages to his Government, in so much, that when an universal revolt appears to have been entered into, by all the other Indian nations in North America those immediately under his jurisdiction, have not only remained faithful and peaceable, but when earnestly solicited to join the disaffected Tribes, they firmly declared they had no wish to change their Masters, as they had at no time before, met with better Treatment or more Justice, than since the English have been in possession of Canada.
Your Memorialists humbly hope, that as they have had the farming of these Posts for some time past, and are now Recommended by His Excellency Governor Murray, on Account of their experience, and the Satisfaction they have hitherto given, Your Lordships will be pleased, upon finding the expediency of keeping these Posts, under the same regulations as heretofore, to Grant them a Lease, for such a number of years, and on such Conditions, as Your Lordships shall judge proper. All of which is humbly submitted &c &c &c.
(Signed) RICHARD MURRAY
in behalf of themselves and Partners.
Endorsed: QUEBEC. Copy of a Memorial of RICHD. MURRAY, JOHN GRAY & THOMAS DUNN to the Lords of the Treasury.
R/ with Mr. Gray's Letter of 21 Janry 1764. Read June 18th 1764. A 47.