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conceded to François Bissot, deceased, by the Company of Nouvelle France on the 25th of February, 1661, from the Isle aux Œufs up to the River Moisy, and, in consequence, as far as was necessary, reunited to the domain of His Majesty the said territory conceded to the said François Bissot from and including the Isle aux Œufs to Cormorant Point, four or five leagues below the River Moisy ; forbade the defendants and all others directly or indirectly to exercise any trading, hunting, fishing, commerce, or establishment in the territory so reunited, or in the said River Moisy and its affluent lakes and rivers ; and, in consideration of the abandonment aforesaid by the defendants, [118] he discharged them from any arrears which might be due from them, and “ as to the new title of concession required by them for the establishment made by them and their predecessor François Bissot at the place of Mingan aforesaid, the parties shall apply to His Majesty to obtain the same, with such frontage and depth and on payment of such dues as His Majesty shall be pleased to grant.”
The effect of this Ordonnance was entirely to put an end to the seigneurie in the Isle aux Œufs, and to the rights, whatever they were, which had been conceded to Bissot by the original grant, as far as Cormorant Point, and to reannex the district from and including the said Isle aux Œufs up to Cormorant Point to the domain of the King. This, with the remission of the arrears, was the whole operative part of the Ordonnance. As to the request of the defendants that the limits of their concession should be from the River Moisy to the Bay of the Spaniards, and that of this district a new title should be granted to them, this was not acceded to. The district for five or six leagues eastward of the River Moisy was reunited to the Crown, and no mention whatever of the Bay of the Spaniards is made, and the defendants are remitted to the Crown to obtain a new title for “ the establishment made by them and the said François Bissot, at the place of Mingan aforesaid,” for such frontage and depth as His Majesty might think fit to grant.
François Bissot, the son, addressed several petitions for a new title to the Comte de Maurepas, the French Secretary of State. In these petitions he set out the substance of the original grant of 1661, explained that his father had made his first establishment at Mingan, where the family residence was formed, but that he had made many others at different places, which, after they had been destroyed by the English, had been from time to time re-established. He stated that the limits of the Royal domain had been fixed by Hocquart at Cormorant Point, and he prayed that he might be continued in the remainder of his concession from that point “ down the river to the conceded lands ” (by which appears to be meant, conceded to other persons), and the exclusive privilege of continuing there his establishments, and others, if possible, for the hunting of seals, with the rights of [119] hunting and trading with the savages such as he and his late father had enjoyed for seventy years.
The result of a correspondence which followed between the Comte de Maurepas and the Marquis de Beauharnois, the Governor of La Nouvelle

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France, and the Intendant Hocquart, was that the Comte de Maurepas stated, in a letter to MM. de Beauharnois and Hocquart, that the circumstances of the case would have determined him to propose to the King to confirm the heirs of Bissot in the possession of a part of the coast conceded by the grant of 1661, and to fix their condition ; but that, having regard to the existing circumstances of the family, and the discussions which such a confirmation might give rise to, he had taken the course recommended by MM. de Beauharnois and Hocquart, to suspend all determination on the subject, and that he had only induced the King to agree that the heirs (of Bissot) should enjoy such extent of coast as they (Beauharnois and Hocquart) had designated in their letter, from the boundary of Tadoussac down the river to the concession of the Sieur Lafontaine, with such depth as they (Beauharnois and Hocquart) should think right to fix ; and he concluded with a request that they would consider whether it would be convenient to leave them this extent of territory, or whether it would not be right to reduce it for the purpose of locating other concessionaires.
It does not appear that these suggestions of M. de Maurepas were ever communicated to the heirs of Bissot. No new title was ever granted to them. This letter imports no engagement on the part of the Crown to give one ; it contains only the expression of a possible intention to do so if, upon the examination of this matter by MM. Beauharnois and Hocquart, it should be thought expedient. No further action on the subject is shewn. No boundary inland was ever fixed. All that can be inferred is that the representatives of Bissot continued to carry on their stations for fishing, &c., at Mingan as before. Their Lordships, therefore, are of opinion that the judgment of Hocquart and the action of the French Crown upon it did not create or recognise any title in the heirs of Bissot to a seigneurie on the mainland.
Nothing between the date of M. de Maurepas' letter, down to [120] the cession of Canada to England in 1763, calls for observation. In 1766 the representatives of François Bissot laid before the British Government a claim to be proprietors of the terre ferme de Mingan, commonly called “ the seigneurie and post of Mingan.” In support of their claim they do not appear to have furnished evidence of the contents of the grant of 1661, but they relied on an “ Acte de Notoriété,” signed by several citizens and notables of Quebec, two of whom, at least, were parties interested, to prove an immemorial possession of the seigneurie of the mainland of Mingan by the heirs of MM. F. Bissot and Lewis Jolyet. This claim was referred to the law officers of the Crown in England, who, in the year 1768, reported upon it. After observing that “ the claim is of an exclusive right of property in the soil containing originally, in extent along the north shore of the River St. Lawrence from the Isle of Eggs to the Bay Phelippeaux which appears to be about 500 miles, and in depth into the country without bounds or limitation,” but of which a space of about thirty leagues from Egg Island to Cape Cormorant was acknowledged to have been surrendered, the law officers comment on the uncertainty of the grant as well as of possession,

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and they conclude, “ Under these circumstances, we are of opinion that this claim, standing as it does at present upon these papers, could not in any judicial inquiry he allowed in point of law as valid and effectual ; at the same time there is reason to think that some part of this family has been in some kind of legitimate and authorized possession of some particular parts of the shore within the limits described; but the ground, the nature, and extent of such possession does not appear at present in such authentic manner as to be capable of receiving any judicial confirmation.”
In 1781 the claimants appear to have endeavoured to supply the want of proof thus pointed out. On the 28th of May in that year F. J. Cugnet, on behalf of himself and others named, claiming to be seigneurs and proprietors in undivided shares of the seigneurial fiefs of the isles and islets of Mingan, of the isle of Anticosty, and of the terre ferme de Mingan, is alleged to have presented an Act of foi et hommage in respect of the said fiefs and seigneuries. A document of this date and to this effect [121] is found in the register of foi et hommage, and it states that the “ Seigneurie de la terre ferme de Mingan,” commencing at Cape Cormorant, “ jusqu'à la grande Ance vers les Esquimaux où les Espagnols faisaient ordinairement la pêche sur deux lieux de profondeur,” was conceded by the company (of La Nouvelle France) on the 25th of February, 1661, to the Sieur François Bissot. Appended to this document is a certificate of Cugnet himself (who appears to have held the office of Keeper of the Papier Terrier) that this foi et hommage had been presented : but it is not signed by the Governor, and therefore has no validity. But from its having been found in the registry it has since been frequently assumed, though erroneously, to have had an official character.
This document contains two statements which are now known to be untrue, whether wilfully or not it is unnecessary to inquire. The one is that the grant of 1661 conceded a seigneurie from Cape Cormorant as far as the Grande Anse. It omits altogether the mention of the Sept Isles, and changes the language with regard to the Grande Anse. The second is that it introduces a limitation inland, thus supplying words which would meet the objection taken as to the uncertainty of the grant in this respect. It is said that these words are introduced in the margin of the document ; but as the original is not before them, their Lordships cannot verify this statement.
The effect of these inaccuracies, whether intended or not, was that in 1803 MM. Vondenvelden and Charland, surveyors, in a work on the subject of the titles of ancient concessions include that of la terre ferme de Mingan, on the authority of the supposed Act of foi et hommage of 1781 ; and from this work the same error has been derived and continued in subsequent transactions. Thus in 1805, in an action at the suit of Ralph Rosslewin against one Crawford and others, the sheriff seized fifteen thirty-second undivided parts of the seigneurie of the Isles Mingan, “ with all the rights in the seigniory of the mainland of Mingan.” The Procureur Général claimed the droit de quint due to the Crown on the sale. The matter was referred to the arbitration of M. Planté, an advocate, who gave his decision

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and based it upon the supposition that the grant of [122] 1661 was a concession of the terre ferme de Mingan to Sieur Fr. Bissot, and refers for his authority to the false entry of the 28th of May, 1781, in the register of foi et hommage and the work of MM. Vondenvelden et Charland. The demand and receipt on this occasion of the droit de quint by the Procureur Général has been relied on by the company as a recognition by the Crown of their title to a seigneurie of the terre firme de Mingan. There is no proof that it was paid ; but assuming that it was, it does not amount to a recognition by the Crown. A recognition to be effectual for the purpose of curing a defective title must be made with knowledge of the defects to be cured, and no such knowledge on the part of the Crown can in this case be inferred from the mere receipt by its officer of a fiscal due, under a mistake induced by the company's predecessors.
In 1837 James Stuart, on the part of several persons named, rendered faith and homage for, amongst other things, certain undivided shares in the Seigneurie de la terre ferme de Mingan. On this occasion the act of faith and homage is signed by the Governor, Lord Gosford. This would be primâ facie proof of the existence of some seigneurie on the mainland of Mingan ; but this primâ facie proof is rebutted by the title relied on by the claimants, namely, that supposed to be derived from the grant of 1661, and the Ordonnance of Hocquart of 1733. The effect of these documents of title has been already considered.
Nothing calling for observation occurred after 1837 until the year 1854. Down to this time their Lordships are of opinion that the facts proved fail to establish that there was a seigneurie of the mainland of Mingan, or that the Crown had recognised its existence, although, chiefly from the supposed act of foi et hommage of 1781 containing the erroneous statement of the effect of the grant of 1661, a reputation had arisen that there was such a seigneurie.
With regard to the claim of the company to hold by prescription and immemorial possession, it is unnecessary to consider what would have been the effect of the evidence if the title of the company had rested upon this basis alone, because as the true root of their title has been shewn by the company themselves, there is no room for the application of the law of [123] prescription. This is clearly stated by many authors of authority : On ne peut pas prescrire contre son titre en ce sens que l'on ne peut pas se changer à soi-même la cause et le principe de sa possession . . . . il suit de là que lorsque le titre est représenté, c'est par lui qu'il faut régler la cause et le principe de la possession ; et tant que le possesseur ne prouve pas une interversion légale soit par le fait d'un tiers, soit par une contradiction formelle, le titre reste la loi invincible qui sert à qualifier sa possession. Il y est ramené sans cesse par la loi et par la raison. C'est ce que les praticiens ont voulu exprimer par ce brocard ; ad primordium tituli posterior semper refertur eventus :” Troplong de la Prescription, 522, 4th ed.
In this state of things the Legislature of the province of Canada, deeming it expedient to abolish all feudal rights and duties in Lower Canada,

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passed for this purpose the Seigniorial Act of 1854 (1.8 Vict. c. 3), amended by the Act of 18 Vict. c. 103 (1855), and the Seigniorial Amendment Act of 1856 (19 Vict. c. 53). The 10th section of this last-mentioned Act is as follows : “ Inasmuch as the following fiefs and seigniories, namely : Perthuis, Hubert, Mille Vaches, Mingan, and the island of Anticosti, are not settled, the tenure under which the said seigniories are now held by the present proprietors of the same respectively, shall be and is hereby changed into the tenure of franc aleu roturier.”
This is an absolute statement by the legislature that there was a seigneurie of Mingan. Even if it could be proved that the legislature was deceived, it would not be competent for a court of law to disregard its enactments. If a mistake has been made, the legislature alone can correct it. The Act of Parliament has declared that there was a seigneurie of Mingan, and that thenceforward its tenure shall be changed into that of franc aleu roturier. The courts of law cannot sit in judgment on the legislature, but must obey and give effect to its determination.
It remains only to consider what was the seigneurie of Mingan to which the Act of 1856 referred. It has been contended for the Crown that there was a seigneurie of the isles and islets of Mingan which may have been intended.
The answer to this contention is that the proper name of this last-named seigneurie [124] was that of “ the isles and islets of Mingan,” and that there is no trace of evidence that it has been on any occasion otherwise designated, or that it has ever been known as the Seigneurie de Mingan.
An examination of the Act further proves that a seigneurie on the mainland was contemplated.
The original Act provides for the appointment of Commissioners (sect. 2), to whom (sect. 4.) the Governor shall assign the seigneurie or seigneuries in and for which each of them shall act, and whose duty it shall be (sect. 5) “ to value the several rights . . . with regard to each seigniory which shall be assigned to him as aforesaid.”
By virtue of these provisions Henry Judah, one of the Commissioners, had assigned to him the making of the cadastre, and the valuation of the rights of the seigneurie of Mingan, and he has discharged his duties specifically with regard to the “ seigneurie of the terre firme de Mingan,” while on the other hand no mention has been made of the seigneurie of the isles and islets of Mingan.
Before beginning to prepare the schedule for any seigneurie it was the duty (sect. 7 of the Act of 1854) of the Commissioner to give public notice of the place, day, and hour at which he would begin his inquiry ; he had power to examine on oath any person appearing before him.
Immediately after the making of the schedule, the Commissioner was bound (sect. 11 of the Act of 1854, and sect. 5 of the Act of 1856) to give eight days' public notice that such schedule would remain open for the inspection of the seignior and the censitaires of the seigniory during thirty days following the said notice, “ and any person interested in the schedule may point out in writing any error or omission therein, and require that the


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