The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume VIII

[4 March, 1699.]



















p. 4037

No. 1513.



Left with Mr. Secretary Vernon
ye 4th March
A Deduction of the Right & Title of the Crown of England, and therein of our Most Gracious Sovereigne Lord, King William the Third, to all ye Straits, Bay, Seas, Rivers, Lakes, Creeks, Islands, Shores, Lands, Territories & Places whatsoever within Hudsons Straits & Hudsons Bay, and of the Right and Propriety of the Hudson Bay Company derived from the Imperiall Crowne of England by Latters Pattents of Incorporation, And a Free Grant of all the Premises from King Charles the Second Anno 1670.
The said Hudson Bay Company being required on their Parts to lay before the Right Honble the Lords Commissioners appointed by His Matie the Right & Title of the Imperiall Crowne of England to all those Places within Hudsons straits and Hudsons Bay, the sd Compa saveing to themselves all Right & Propriety—Derivative to them from the sd Crowne, & all Advantages Rights and Claimes Proper & Just to them by the Civill Law & the Law of Nations, Doe humbly offer & say,
That Hudson Bay (with all that Belongs thereto wthin Hudsons Straites) was first Discovered by Sr Sebastian Cabott, Grand Pilott to King Henry the 7th, who gave English Names to severall Places of the sd Bay, Anno 1497.
Sr Martin Frobisher in Queen Elizabeths time made 3 Voyages to the Bay in 1576 ; 1577 ; & 1578 & gave English Names to severall Places there.
Captain Davice made 3 Voyages thither in ye years 1585 ; 1587 ; & 1588 & gave English Names to severall Parts of the sd Bay.
In 1610 Henry Hudson an English man sailed into the straites & Bay, 1610 from him Called Hudsons Straites & Hudsons Bay, & keeps that Denomination to this Day in all of Authenticke Mapps in the World, & Even in the Mapps of the best—Geographers of France, The sd Hudson stayed a Whole Winter there tooke possession thereof in the Name of the King of England, Traded wth ye Savages & gave Names to severall other Parts of the straites & Bay

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In 1612 Sr Thomas Button pursued the Discovery & Possession of the aforesd Hudson sayled into the straits & Bay wth Two Ships & particularly into Port Nelson–where he wintered & Buried the Comandr of his Ship there, in Memory of Whome he gave it the Name of Port Nelson & called that particular Bay Buttons Bay (as it is still called in the Mapps) tooke possession thereof in the Name of his Master King James the ffirst, & gav. severall other English Names to other Places in the Bay, Erecting a Cross there Declareing thereon the Right of the Crowne of England.
In 1631 Captaine Lake Fox by Command of King Charles the ffirst made a Voyage to Hudsons Bay, & amongst other Places Entred Port Nelson, & finding there the Cross Erected by Sr Thomas Button with the Inscription Defaced and allmost worne out, He erected it again with a New Inscription Declaring the Right and Possession of His Hon Matie King Charles the ffirst, named the Adjacent Country New North Wales and Published a Journal of His Voyage.

Note, That the Troubles & Civill Warrs which soon after Broke out in England might be one Principall Cause Why those Voyages were not Prosecuted Trade in generall failing amongst those Divisions, And Navigation & Discoveries wanting the Encouragemt of the Government, till after the Restoration of King Charles the Second, yet it is observable that all that while (for soe many years) that those Places and Countries lay Neglected & unfrequented by the Navigation or Commerce of any Europa'an Nations, the French Doe not in the least Pretend to have then Visited those Parts, to have formed a possession or attempt any Commerce wth any People upon those Coasts, Nor will they say that ever any French Vessell sailed Hudsons Straits or Hudson Bay till very lately, as shall hereafter be declared & is the Subject matter of Our Complaint.

It was therefore after the Happy Restoration of King Charles the Second, That Trade & Commerce began to revive & in Particular that some Noble Men & other Publick Spirited English Men, not unmindful of the Discovery & Right of the Crowne of England to those Parts in America (And to Canada it selfe which in one time will be insisted on) designed at their own charge to adventure the Establishing of a regular and Constant Trade to Hudson Bay, & settle fforts & Factories there upon the Coasts, Whereby to invite the Indian Nations (who lived like Savages many Hundred leagues up in the Country) downe to their Factories for a Constant & yearly intercourse of Trade wch was never attempted by such settlements to reside in an inhospitable Country, before the aforesaid English Adventurers undertooke the same.
Wherefore after a long time of Consultation & the Necessary Preparations for soe great a Charge. In the yeare 1667 One Zachary Gilham was Provided of a Ship & Goods in London, sailed through Hudsons straits to the Bottome of the Bay, settled a Trade and Built a Fort there, which he called Charles Fort on a River wch he named Ruperts River, in Honour to Prince Rupert, Who was pleased to be Concerned wth & was One of those

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Adventurers, in which Place the Hudson Bay Compa continued a Trade, & have there a Factory to this Day.
In 1669, Another Voyage was undertaken by the same Adventurers, 1669 and one Captt Newland was sent Who Entered Port Nelson, settled there & aNew Declared the Right & Title of His Matie to that River & the Countries Adjacent, & there fixed up His Maties Armes as a Marke of His Soveraignty over ye sd Places.
After the Charge of these Voyages, & ye Experience by these settlemts that a great Trade might be brought to England by Beavor Furrs & other Comodities, for the Just Encouragemt of soe Good & Publick a Benefitt, & the Persons that had Laboured in it, His then Matie King Charles the Second was graciously pleased in the yeare 1670 According to the undoubted & inherent Right of His Imperiall Crowne of England by His Royall Lres Patents to Incorporate the sa Adventurers & to Grant unto His Highness Prince Rupert, the Duke of Albermarle, Earle of Craven, Lord Arlington, Lord Ashly & divers others & Their Successer for Ever the sole Trade to Hudson Bay wth all ye Lands & Territories to be reckoned & reputed as One of His Maties Plantations & Colonies in America, By the Name of Ruperts Land & further to Create & Constitute them & their Successes the True & Absolute Lords & Proprietors of the same, & of all ye Territories Limits & Places thereto belonging to Have Hold Possess & Enjoy the same for Ever ; as of His Maties Manner of East Greenwich in Free and Common Soccage &c.
In the same yeare 1670 the Company soe Incorporated sent out One Charles Baley as Governour of their Factories & Settlements in the Bay, with whom Monsr Frontenac then Governr of Canada by Lres of the 8th of October 1675 Entertained a good Correspondence, not in the least Complaining in severall years of any Pretended Injury done to the French by the sd Companies settling a Trade & Building of Forts at the Bottome of the Bay.
In 1672 the sd Charles Baily (as the Compas Governr) sent a Ship from the Bottome of the Bay, Called the Imploy, to Port Nelson to settle a Trade there with the Natives As in 1680 did allso Capt Draper in the Shipp Albemarle.

But after above 15 years labour and charge, Continuall Voyages Factories & Settlements, & the Trade wth the Natives Established to some Degree of hoping to reimburse Their Charge, The French began now to Envy this New & growing Trade, & thought it worth their while to study some Pretences to invade & robb the Compa Or at least to share the Benefitt wth them

Wherefore in 1682 When the English Compa were Building a Fort & Settling a Trade at Port Nelson, The French haveing formed a Private Piraticall Expedition at Quebeck in Canada by Confederacy of One La Chaney & other Private Persons, came suddenly with two ships into the sd River of Port Nelson & wth a stronger force surprized the sd Compas Men & Dispossessed them of their Place & settlement Carried them Prisoners to Canada and pretended to settle a Trade there Themselves ; But Wee doe Maintain

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that this was the first time that Ever the French did sail a Vessell in Hudson Bay since the Begining of the World, Let them Prove otherwise if they can. Moreover Wee doe further maintaine that this was a Piraticall Expeditn the Authors of it were prosecuted as such by frequent Memorialls from hence at the Court of France it was Disowned by his most Christian Matie and Satisfaction Promised, as the Hudsons Bay Company will be ready to Prove —Now as the French Seldome want Assurance for their Pretentions or Claime to anything for their Advantage soe they never faile of Artifice or Force (when they can) to back such their pretences & whom by Violence rapine or Murther they have gott themselves into an unjust Possession, then to Expostulate all by a Treaty (as if they were upon an Even Foot wth the right Possessor) And gett it Rivitted by Concessions, Thus they seconded this Injurious Invasion & Assault & a yeare or two after Tooke another ship of the Compas one Edward Humes Comandr wth the Goods & Carryed' the Men away Prisoners & for above a yeare fed them wth Bread & Water,
But in 1686 they formed a greater Designe & went a Considerable Force over Land from Canada to the Bottome of the Bay, by force or Treachery Suprized & tooke all the Compies Factories there, their Ammunition Goods Stores & Merchandize to a very great value & Murdered & destroyed many of his Maties Subjects, And all these Invasions Seizures & Depredations were in a Time of Peace & the best Correspondence between the Two Crowns which is a thing noe other Nation ever Did in a time of Mutuall Amity when the way is open for Complaints to the Prince. on Either side,
Upon these repeated Injuries the sd compa Complained Severall times in 1687 to his then Matie & severall Memorialls were presented at the French Court by the Publick Ministers then there, my Lord Preston Sr Wm Trumbull Mr Skelton, at last his most Christian Matie was willing to appoint Commes to meet at London To Treate of those Matters & Monsr Bonrepos was sent over hither to be Joyned wth Monsr Barrillon ye French Ambassadour in that Affaire, What the Issue of those Conferences was wherein very many Papers was Exchanged on both sides, Wee humbly Referr to the Originalls themselves (as wee presume) kept in the proper Office (But this is Certaine that in that Reigne soe Advantageous to the French Intrest) they did not obtain one Inch from the right of the Imperiall Crowne of England nor from the property of the Hudson Bay compa
At his Present Majestys Happy Accession to the Crowne the sd Compa put in a fresh Petition & Memoriall to his Matie of their Grievous Sufferings from the French which his Matie was Graciously Pleased to resent soe farr that he made it one of his Articles & Grounds of a Declaration of Warr against France as these Exhorbitant Encroachments of the French allmost everywhere Necessitated the Warr.
And now after waiting the End of a long & Chargeable Warr, if wee are not presently restored by the Peace to all our Rights Properties & Priviledges and a Just satisfaction for all our Damages (which wee shall Exhibite in one time) yet Wee hope wee shall give that satisfaction in this Deduction and all our Subsequent Papers to the right Honble the Lords Commor as by his

p. 4041

Majestys Royall Justice shall Lead us in a little Time to full Satisfaction for our sd Damages & Restitution to all our rights & Properties,

And lastly wee humbly Crave leave to add or alter in our after Papers if anything Materiall shall at any Time be omitted or not fully fully Expressed or Explained & in the whole Course of Our Transactions and Defence Humbly pray the Favourable Opinion & Construction of the Right Honble the Lords Commissioners.

My Lord

Your Lordsps most Obedient humble Servants The Governour and Company of Adventurers of England Trading into Hudson Bay—
SAMLL CLARKE, Deputy Governr.


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