The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume VIII

to Commis-
sary Bladen,

p. 4075

No. 1538.



Together with those instructions, you will receive His Majesty's Commission under the Great Seal of Great Britain, appointing you, the said Martin Bladen, to be His Majesy's Commissary for treating of and concluding with the Commissary or Commissaries on the part of the French King, all such matters and things as are referred to your cognizance and determination by the said Commission, in pursuance of the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th Articles of the Treaty of Peace, concluded at Utrecht the 31/11 day of March/April in the year of our Lord 1713, between Her late Majesty Queen Anne and Lewis the 14th late most Christian King. . . .
It being provided by the 10th Article of the Treaty of Utrecht, that the limits and boundaries between Hudson's Bay and the places appertaining to the French, be settled by Commissaries on each part, “ which limits both the British and French subjects shall be wholly forbid to pass over, or thereby to go to each other by sea or by land,” you are to endeavour to get the said limits settled in the following manner, that is to say :—
That the same begin from the Island called Grimington's Island, or Cape Perdrix, in the latitude of 58½ north, which the Company desire may be the boundary between the British and French subjects, on the coast of Laboradore towards Rupert's Land, on the East Main, and Nova Britannia on the French side ; and that no French ships, barque, boat or vessel whatsoever shall pass to the northwestward of Cape Perdrix or Grimington's Island towards or into the Streights or Bay of Hudson, on any pretence whatsoever. And further, that a line be drawn from the south-westward of the Island of Grimington or Cape Perdrix (so as to include the same within the Limits of the Bay) to the great Lake Miscosinke alias Mistoveuy, dividing the said lake into parts (as in the map to be delivered to you) ; and that where the said line shall cut the 49th degree of northern latitude, another line shall begin, and be extended westward from the said lake, upon the 49th degree of northern latitude ; over which said line, so to be described as above mentioned, the French and all persons by them employed, shall be prohibited

* Reprinted from Joint Appendix of Documents, Ontario-Manitoba Boundary Case (P.C.), pp. 508-510.

p. 4076

to pass to the northward of the said 49th degree of latitude, and to the north or north-westward of the said lake or supposed line, by land or water, on or through any rivers, lakes or countries, to trade, or erect any forts or settlements. And the British subjects shall likewise be forbid to pass the said supposed line, either to the southward or eastward.
But you are to take especial care, in wording such articles as shall be agreed on with the Commissary of His Most Christian Majesty, upon this head, that the said boundaries be understood to regard the trade of the Hudson's Bay Company only ; that His Majesty does not thereby recede from the right to any lands in America, not comprized within the said boundaries ; and that no pretension be thereby given to the French to claim any tracts of land in America, southward or south-west of the said boundaries.
And whereas it hath been represented by the said Company that the French have, since the Peace of Utrecht, viz., in 1715, made a settlement at the head of Albany River, upon which river the Company's principal factory is settled, whereby the French may intercept the Indian trade from coming to the said factory, and may in time utterly ruin the trade of the Company if not prevented ; you are to insist that the said fort be given up, or demolished by the French, and their subjects be withdrawn from that settlement.
And it being further provided, by the 11th Article of the said Treaty, that satisfaction be made according to justice and equity, to the Hudson's Bay Company for the “ damages and spoil done to their colonies, ships, persons and goods, by the hostile incursions and depredations of the French, in time of peace ; ” and the said Company having delivered to his Majesty's Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, an account under their common seal, of the losses sustained by them from the French in times of peace, which will be delivered to you, with proper vouchers for the same ; you are in like manner to insist that satisfaction be made to the said Company pursuant to the said Article. . . . .
If the French Commissary or Commissaries should pretend to ground a more extensive claim upon the French Treaty than does appertain to them by the Latin one, you are to insist upon it, that the Latin Treaty is to be your guide in all cases, though even by the French Treaty they can have no title to any islands lying in the Bay or Gut of Canceau. . . . .
Whereas it has not been thought proper to empower you by your Commission to treat of any boundaries beside those of Hudson's Bay and Novia Scotia ; nevertheless, lest the French should take this as a tacit acknowledgment of their pretended right to several settlements they have made on the back and westward of the British Plantations on the continent of America ; you are to declare to the French Commissary or Commissaries, that His Majesty has reason to believe the French have made several encroachments upon the British settlements in those parts, which may be discussed when His Majesty shall have received, from the respective Governors of his colonies in those parts, a full and particular account of all such encroachments as they have already complained of. And in the meanwhile, you are to take particular care

p. 4077

in the wording of such articles as shall be agreed to between you and the French Commissaries, in relation to the boundaries of Hudson's Bay and Nova Scotia, that His Majesty be not thereby concluded with respect to the boundaries of any other lands or territories His Majesty or his subjects may have a right to on the continent of America.
You are hereby directed, during the time of your residence in France, to get the best information you can concerning the situation, trade, strength, laws and government of the French colonies in America, but more particularly, concerning the establishment and constitution of the Mississippi Company, which you are to transmit to one of His Majesty's principal Secretarys of State, and to His Majesty's Commissioners for Trade and Plantations.
You are hereby required to communicate, from time to time, all your proceedings, during the course of your negotiations, unto the Earl of Stair, His Majesty's Ambassador Extraordinary, now residing at the French Court, and to confer and consult with the said Earl on all matters relating thereto.
And whereas divers matters and difficulties may arise during the course of your negotiation, which could not be sufficiently foreseen and provided for by these instructions, you are hereby directed to keep a constant correspondence with one of His Majesty's principal Secretarys of State, to whom you shall by all occasions transmit an exact account of your proceedings, and you are to govern yourself by such further instructions as you shall from time to time receive from him thereupon.
At your return from the French Court, you are to lay before His Majesty a full and particular account of your proceedings in the several matters contained in His Majesty's said Commission and in these instructions ; as likewise in all such other matters as shall from time to time be referred to your negotiation by one of His Majesty's principal Secretarys of State ; and you are to deliver to His Majesty's Commissioners for Trade and Plantations a duplicate of the said account, so far as the same may relate to their cognizance.
[The above were the instructions prepared by the Commissioners of Trade for Mr. Bladen. On the same 3rd day of September, 1719, the like instructions were prepared for Messrs. Pulteney and Bladen, by order of, and signed by, the Lords Justices. The two Commissaries were, by their Commission, empowered to act jointly and severally.]


Partnered Projects Government and Politics - Table of Contents Site Map Search Heritage Web Site Home