REPORT OF WILLIAM LAMPSON re KING'S POSTS,
22 DECEMBER, 1830.
JOURNALS OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF LOWER CANADA, APPENDIX A.A., No. 5, 1831.
The Lessee of the King's Posts, in explanation of his Petition and with a view that it may be easily understood, deems it advisable to subjoin a short sketch or account of the King's Domain Lands, generally known by the name of the King's Posts :
To render the subject, in the outset, plain, he begs leave in the first place, to refer to the maps made out by Sax, Land Surveyor, in the year 1828 or 1829, for the purpose of conveying information to the Members of the Assembly when engaged on the Internal Communications and Improvement of the Province. On perusing this map, it will be seen how stands the Bay of Mille Vaches, what spot allotted for the Seigniory of that name, and from the scale on the map itself the exact distance from Bay of Mille Vaches to the River Portneuf, can be ascertained ; this process will at once prove how stands the frivolous and unfounded pretensions of the owners and lessees of Mille Vaches, who lay claim to the River Portneuf and the Post established on the Bank of the River. It may be right here to observe, that Sax's map is a diminution taken from an old map of the Province made out some fifty years ago, by two land-surveyors of high repute in the Colony, (Vondenvelden and Charland,) under the directions of the late Major Holland, Surveyor General. The latter map will more clearly shew the place designated for Mille Vaches embracing the Bay of that name, and exhibits the space or distance from that to the Post of Portneuf including the River ; these maps are the only Documents that can be referred to, as made since the conquest, (1759.) the Survey and Map made before the conquest of the King's Domain Lands, (1773) having been destroyed : therefore, as to the geographical or local situation of the premises no other map or plans can be resorted to.
The King's Posts or Domain Lands embrace all that extensive tract situated on the north shore of the River St. Lawrence, between the Seigniory of Les Eboulemens and the Point or Cap des Cormorans, making a front of about two hundred and eighty five miles, extending in depth in various directions, and at one point until it reaches Hudson's Bay. The description and exact limits of these valuable lands of the Crown are given in the
Ordonnance “ pour les limites du Domaine,” made by authority of the French Government in 1733, (2 vol. of Edits, page 87.) This Ordonnance was made by order of Government at the request of M. Carlier, Lessee of the Domain Lands, after a regular and minute survey taken.
When this Survey was taken, and the Ordonnance in question made, it was with a view to inform the public of the true limits of the Domain Lands, and of the peculiar and exclusive right of trade or traffic attached to them to afford the Lessee relief against intruders who had shortly before encroached on his privilege, and to assure him the free and uninterrupted enjoyment of that exclusive privilege, and for that it was, that the Ordonnance of 1733, after giving an accurate and formal description of the Domain Lands with their limits, proceeds by explaining in what the rights of the Lessee consist, and thus the Ordonnance concludes :
“ Faisons defenses à toutes personnes de quelque qualité et condition qu'elles soient, tant les marchands et habitants de la Colonie que les captaines et maîtres de charois, barques, batteaux et navires, gens de leur équipage et passagers et à tous autres généralement quelconques, même aux sauvages étrangers non habitués dans les Terres du Domaine, de traiter, chaiser, pêcher, ni faire aucun commerce, sous quelque pretexte que ce puisse être, directement ni indirectement, soit par eux-mêmes ou en envoyant des marchandises, vivres, boissons et munitions par des sauvages affidés dans toute l'etendue des pays désignés par notre presente Ordonnance, et géneralement dans aucunes rivières et lacs qui prennent leur course en la rivière du Saguenay et la rivière Moisy, encore qu'ils ne soient nommément exprimés dans notre dite Ordonnance, faire festin aux Sauvages habitués dans le dite étendue de pays, ni le détourner en aucune manière, même d'approcher des limites ci-dessus marquées dans les terres plus près de dix lieues pour y faire la traite avec les Sauvages ou autres établissements sans la commission expresse et par écrit du dit earlier, ses successeurs fermiers, leurs procureurs, commis et préposés, a peine de confiscation des armes chasse, marchanises de traite, pelleteries et effets, traités, canots, chaloups, barques, charois, batteaux et autres bâtiments généralement quelconques, et de la somme de deux mille livres d'amende qui ne pourra être remise ni modérée sous aucun prétexte.”
On reading the Ordonnance itself, we acquire at once a full and correct account of Domain Lands, and the exclusive trade attached to them.
After reading this Ordonnance attentively, it must strike the mind of every impartial and disinterested man, that the policy of the French Government was to secure to itself and the King's lessee, exclusive trade with the Indians, and that it never entered into the mind of any (The Hudson's Bay Company only excepted,) that competition could be allowed in the exercise of such a right, and for that it is, that in framing and promulgating the “ Ordonnance des limites du Domaine,” no notice whatever is taken of the grant or concession of 1653 for Mille Vaches ; if the French Government had ever intended to convey such a right to the grantee of Mille Vaches, it would have been mentioned in the deed if such had been the French King's
intention, the necessary exception or reservation in their favor, would have been included in the Ordonnance of 1733, if it had ever been considered a right attached to Mille Vaches to assume the exercise of such a right within the three leagues upon four, which they hold for the purpose of Agricultural Settlement alone, no doubt such a reservation would have been made in the old Ordonnance, and in the several leases granted by the Crown for the King's Posts. Let the several leases executed as well before as since the conquest be referred to, and no such reservation will be found for Mille Vaches,—for the best of reasons, the exclusive right of trade or traffic with the Indians, in an entire thing,—allow competition to Mille Vaches, or to any one else, and there is an end to the privilege itself.
On looking farther back, in reference to the King's Domain and the exclusive right of trade attached to it, it will appear (vol. 1 Edits, page 96), that M. Nicolas Oudiette, fermier de la Traite de Tadoussac a l'exclusion de tous autres, having in 1676 remonstrated in relations to intrusions in the King's Domain, to his prejudice, His most Christian Majesty commanded the Intendant as follows :
“Le Sieur Duchesneau tiendra la main, que la défense soit exécutée ; et que ceux qui y contre viendront soient seulement punis de la peine portée par l'Ordonnance.” By an Arrêt du Conseil d'Etat du Roi of the year 1666, (1 vol. Edits, page 43,) the exclusive right to trade in the King's Posts, then called la Traite de Tadoussac, is granted to the Compagnie des Indes Occidentales. Thus much to prove that prior to the Conquest, and from the very first establishment of the King's Posts, the right of traffic with the Indians was an exclusive privilege belonged to and reserved by the King.
We next proceed to shew, that since the Crown of Great Britain rules over the Colony, the same policy has prevailed, and that having succeeded to the rights of the King of France under the Treaty of 1763, the King's Posts have from the period of the Conquest to the present time, been from time to time granted for a term of twenty years, with the exclusive right of trade or traffic with the Indians ; the evidence of this fact appears by the lease to Goudie in 1822, by the lease to Simon McGillivray and others in 1802, by a lease granted by Government in 1786, and a former lease given about the year 1766, but a few years after the conquest ; so many repeated acts on the part of both Governments, the right of exclusive trade and the exercise of that right by the Crown cannot be doubted or susceptible of any difficulty, can for an instant be imagined that at any period the Crown of France before the Conquest, or Great Britain since, had lost sight of the Grant of Mille Vaches of 1653, when but a few years after (in 1666), this exclusive trade is granted by the French King to the “ Compagnie des Indes Occidentales ; ” when, again, in 1676, on the remonstrances of the King's Lessee, (Nicholas Oudiette,) the Crown afford immediate relief, when, in fine, in 1733, such salutary provisions are made to secure the King's Lessee, (Le Sieur Carlier,) in the unmolested enjoyment of that right, when but a few years after the Conquest, (in 1768) by Proclamation issued by the Honorable Guy Carleton,
Governor of the Province, under a Special Order from the King and his Privy Council, efficient steps are taken to keep this exclusive right free and unmolested, when by a series of leases from the Crown since the Conquest, that exclusive trade is granted to the King's Lessee for a valuable consideration.
No, at all times the Crown was satisfied, the grant of Mille-Vaches had been made for Agricultural Settlement, and for no other purpose, that the assumption to trade with the Indians of the King's Posts, on the part of the owners of Mille-Vaches or their Lessees, was on their part a mere visionary dream, a frivolous pretension unfounded both in law and in reason ; for, again, and to conclude, the right in question is the exclusive trade ; how therefore can that right ever be enjoyed or exercised by two rival Companies ?
This subject was never brought under the consideration of His Majesty's Government before now, from obvious reasons, before the pending of the present Lease, the Lessees of the King's Posts were either Lessees of Mille-Vaches at the same time, or owners of that Seigniory, and holding both, excluded all questions of adverse interest. This accounts also, why a Survey of Mille Vaches was never called for, how it happens that encroachments unnoticed, have taken place on the Domain Lands to the prejudice of the Crown, and by what means the Post of Portneuf has been established and lately set up, in direct violation of His Majesty's rights, and to the prejudice of the Lessee of the Domain Lands.
The whole very respectfully submitted by
(Signed,) WM. LAMPSON.
Quebec, 22nd December 1830.
J. B. GLEGG,