HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY'S PETITION TO THE QUEEN,
24th APRIL, 1709.
HUDSON BAY COMPANY'S RECORD.
Presented the 24th of Aprill
1709 In Councill.
To The Queens Most Excelltt Matie
The Petition of the Governor & Compa of Adventurers of England Tradeing into Hudsons Bay.
That your Petitioners are farr from Enquiring into The great Affaires of your glorious government, especially in what Relates to warr or Peace, Both which they know your high wisdome will soe order as shall be most for The good of your whole People, But Beleiveing the justice of your Cause & The Terror of your Arms must soone Reduce the French King to sue for such A Peace as all Europe desiers & wants, your Petitioners Crave Leave with the Profoundest Duty to Submitt the hardshipp of Theire Case to yr Royall Consideration.
That the French in A Time of Perfect Amity between the Two Kingdomes, Viz Anno 1682 did Arbitrarily Invade The Compies Teritories, at Port Nelson burn their Houses & seize Their Effects.
That in the yeares 1684 & 1685 They Continued Their Depredations.
That in the yeare 1686 They forcibly tooke from ye Compa 3 Factories Viz Albany Fort, Rupers Fort & Moose River Fort, Which violent proceedings they Continued The yeares 1687 & 1688 The whole Damages done by the French to the Compa in Times of Peace amounting to £108514: 19 : 8 : as your Petitioners are Ready to make Appeare.
That in the yeare 1685 They suplicated His then Matie King James the 2d to Interpose in theire behalfe and by his Ambasador at the French Court to demand Reparation for the Damages done to the Compa & Restitution of theire Places Unjustly taken from them by the French in times of Peace, Whereupon Commissioners were Apointed by His Mattie, viz The Earle of
Sunderland, The Earle of Middelton, & The Ld Godolphin, (Now Ld High Treasurer of England) to Treate with The French Comissioners, Before whome The Compa Clearely made our Theire Right to The Whole Bay & Streights of Hudson, to the satisfaction of The English Comissioners who on The 16th of November 1687 Reported The Right of your Petitioners, Upon which King James was pleased to Declare, That he Conceived the Compa well founded in theire Demands, & Therefore did Insist upon his owne Right & The Right of His Subjects to The whole Bay & Streights of Hudson, & to the sole Trade Thereof, as also Upon the Demand of full satisfaction for the Damages they had Received &ca The Coppy of which Report & of His Matie Resolution thereupon is hereinto annexed, This was Transacted & declared Towards the Latter end of 1687, at which time the Ld Churchill now Duke of Marlborough was Governor of The Company) and Memorialls were Repeated by the sd Kings Comand at the French Court soe Pressingly for Satisfaction & Restitution, That your Petitioners had certainely been Releived & Restored to theire Rights, But for the Warr which soone after Broke out Between the Two Kingdomes.
That Upon His Late Matie King Williams accession to the Throne The Compa Renewed Their Claime to Theire Teritories & for Reparation of Damages Suffered from ye French in Times of full Peace, of which his said Matie was soe sencible That He was pleased to make The Proceedings of France in That Affaire one of the Causes & Articles of His Declaration of Warr Against the French King in Hac Verba,
But that the French King should Invade our Charibbee Islands & Posses Himselfe of our Teritories of ye Province of New Yorke & of Hudsons Bay in A Hostile Manner Seizeing our Forts burning our Subjects Houses and Enriching his People with the Spoile of Theire goods & Merchandizes, detaineing some of our Subjects Under The Hardship of Imprisonment, causeing others to be Inhumanly Killd & driveing The Rest to sea in A small Vessell without Food & Necessarys to suport them, are Actions not becomeing even an Enemy And yet he was soe farr from Declareing himselfe so That at That Verry Time he was Negotiateing here in England by his Ministers, A Treaty of Newtrality and good Corespondence in America.
So That your Petitioners did Patiently await for the end of that warr, not doubting but to have Justice done them when a Peace was Concluded.
But soe it is May it Please your Most Excelltt Matie That the Compa found Theire Interest not Comprehended in the Treaty of Risewick, which they are far from attributeing to any want of care in That Gracious Prince of this Kingdomes Honour & Trade, and Rather Thinke Theire Right & Claime was Then overweyed by matters of Higher Consequence depending in that Juncture for By the said Treaty They found Their Condition much worse Then it was before, By the 8th Article whereof the French were to be Left
in The Possession of such Places Sittuated in Hudsons Bay, as had been Taken by them dureing the Peace which preceeded that warr.
That at A meeting of Commissioners on both sides (as directed by the sd Treaty to Adjust These differences) The Compa did Againe sett forth The Undoubted Right of the Crowne of England to the whole Bay & Streights of Hudson, Against which nothing but sophistry & Cavils were offered no The French side, & The matter Remained Undetermined,
That the onely settlement now Remaineing to the Compa in Those parts (of 7 they formerly had) is Albany Fort or Chechechewan, where they are surrounded by ye French on every side, Viz by theire Settlements on the Lakes & Rivers from Canada to The Northwards towards Hudsons Bay, as also from Port Nelson (alias Yorke Fort) to the Southward, the French Likewise have lately made another settlement between Port Nelson & Albany Fort whereby the Indians are hinderd from comeing to Trade with the English Factory at The Bottome of The Bay, And If They are Suffered to Fix & fortify in those parts, Beyond all Question They will Deprive ye Maties subjects of that Tract of Lands, which is soe Large A Part of your American Dominions, & Rightfully belongs to ye Crowne of England.
That not only ye Maties Glory is Concerned to preserve Those Plantations, but it verry much Imports The Generll Trade of your Kingdomes since your Petitioners notwithstanding The Losses & discouragements They have Laboured Under and Dureing The warr have brought from thence between 30 & 40 Thousand skins pr Arm, & doubt not If They were Reinstated in Theire Right according to Theire Charter to bring the sd Importation to 100000 skins pr Arm.
That the sd Countrey doth abound with severall other Comodities (of which yr Petitrs have not been able to begin A Trade, by Reason of The Interuptions They have nett with from ye French) as with whale oyle, whale bone (of which last) your Subjects now purchase from Holland & Germany to the Vallew of above £26000 pr Arm, which might be had in your owne plantations, besides many other valluable Comodities which in Time may be discovered.
That If The French come once to be Entirely possessd of Hudsons Bay They will Undoubtedly sett up A whale Fishing in those parts, which will greatly lend to the Encrease of theire Navagation & to Theire Breed of Seamen.
That there is Carried Thither & Consumed there nothing but of the product & manufactories of England, your Petitioners Encourageing & duly bringing The Indians to weare Course cloth instead of Skins, which in process of time will considerably Advance The Woollen Trade at home.
That it must neades Reflect Upon The Honour of England to Relinquish to The French That Teritory of which theire Violent Usurpation in A Time of Peace was alledged as A maine Article in the first Declaration of warr Against That Kingdome.
That If the French could pretend to any Right to ye said Teretories by the Peace of Risewick this Right must neads be Determined by Theire Notorious Infraction of the said Treaty,
The Premises Considered, when your Matie in your high wisdome shall thinke fitt to give Peace to those Enemies whome yr Victorious Arms have soe Reduced & humbled, & when yr Matie shall Judg it for ye Peoples good to Enter into A Treaty of Peace with The French King, your Petitioners Pray That the said Prince be obleiged by such Treaty to Renounce all Right or Pretentious to the Bay & Streights of Hudson, Quitt & surrender all Forts and Settlements Erected by the French, or which are now in Theire Possession, as Likewise not to saile any Shipp or Vessell within The Limitts of The Compies Charter, & to make Restitution of The £108514 : 19 : 8 : of which They Robb & dispoiled your Petitioners in Times of Perfect Amity between The Two Kingdoms.
And your Petitioners as in Duty Bound
By Order of the Governr & Compa of Adventurers
of England Tradeing into Hudsons Bay.
WM POTTER, Seer.