MEMORIAL OF THE HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY TO LORDS COMMISSIONERS OF TRADE,
3rd OCTOBER, 1750.
HUDSON BAY COMPANY'S RECORDS.
To the Right Hon:ble the Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantations
The Humble Memorial of the Governor and Company of Adventurers of England Trading into Hudson's Bay
May it please your Lordships
The said Gov:r & Co. in obedience to your Lordships Orders of the 25th July last requiring them to lay before your Lordships an Acc:t of the Limits and Boundaries of the Territorys Granted to them represent to your Lordships
That his late Majesty King Charles the 2d by Letters Patent under the Great Seal, bearing date the 2d day of May in the 22d year of his Reign Reciting that Prince Rupert and several others had undertaken an expedition for Hudsons Bay, for the Discovery of a new Passage in the South Sea and for finding some Trade for Furrs and other Commodities ;—For the encouragement of the design ;—was Graciously pleased to Incorporate them, & grant unto them the sole Trade and Commerce of all those Seas, Streights, Bays, Rivers. Lakes, Creeks, and Sounds in whatsoever latitude they should be that, lie within the Entrance of Hudsons Streights, together with all the Lands and Territorys, the Countries Coasts and Confines thereof, which were not then actually possessed by or Granted to any of his Majestys Subjects or Possessed by the Subjects of any other Christian Prince.
The description in the said Letters Patent of the Territorys thereby granted being in General Terms is apprehended to have been owing to those parts being but little known and to have further proceeded from the Crown of England having in View (amongst other things) by means of the said Grant to lay a Foundation for this Nations claim and right to the said Bay & whatever territorys might lye round the same, and to prevent the French gaining any Right therein.
The said Streights and Bay commonly called Hudsons Streights and Bay, are now so well known that it is apprehended they stand in no need of any particular description further than by the Charter Mapp herewith delivered to your Lordships and the Limits or Boundaries of the Lands and Countries lying around the same, comprised as your memorialists conceive
in the said Grant are as follows, that is to say—All the Lands lying on the East side or Coast of the said Bay, and extending from the Bay eastward to the Atlantick Ocean & Davis's Streights and the Line hereinafter mentioned on the East and South-Eastward Boundaries of the said C:os Territories—And towards the North all the Lands that lye at the North end or on the North side or Coast of the said Bay and Extending from the Bay Northward to the utmost Limits of the Land there towards the North Pole but where or how those Lands Terminate is hitherto unknown—And towards the West all the Lands that lye on the West side or coast of the said Bay, and Extending from the Bay Westward to the utmost Limits of those Lands, but where or how those Lands terminate to the westward is also unknown, tho' probably it will be found they terminate on the great South Sea—And towards the South all the Lands that lye at the South end or South side of coast of the said Bay the extent of which Lands towards the South to be Limitted & Divided from the places appertaining to the French in those ports by a Line to be drawn for that purpose to begin from the Atlantic Ocean on the East side at an Island called Grimington's Island otherwise Cape Perdrix in the Latitude of 59 ½° on the Labrador coast and to be drawn from thence Southwestward to the great Lake Miscosinke otherwise called Mistoseny, and through the same dividing that Lake into two parts down to the 49th Degree of North Latitude, as described in the said Map or Plan delivered herewith, and from thence to be continued by a Meridian Line of the said Latitude of 49° Westwards.
The French before the Treaty of Utrecht in the time of Peace, under some pretended claim of Right disturbed the said Hudsons Bay Co. in the Quiet Possession of the Bay and Territoryes aforesaid, and in a Hostile manner with Ships of Warr and an Armed Land Force attacked and took several of the Hudsons Bay C:os Ships in Harbour in the Bay, and also took, plundered and dispossessed them of several Factorys and Settlements on the Coast thereof, but those matters having been under consideration at the Treaty of Utrecht were in some measure Settled by the following Articles thereof.
By the 10th Article of the Treaty of Utrecht it was Stipulated that the French King should Restore to the Kingdom and Queen of Great Britain to be Possessed in full Right for Ever the Bay & Streights of Hudson together with all Lands, Seas, Sea Coasts, Rivers and Places scituate in the said Bay & Streights and which belong thereunto no Tracts of Land or Sea being excepted which were then possessed by the subjects of France And it was further agreed to determine by Commissarys the Limits which were to be fixed between the said Bay of Hudson and the places appertaining to the French which both Subjects should be wholly forbid to pass over—and by the 11th Article of the said Treaty it was further stipulated that his most Christian Majesty should take care that Satisfaction should be given according to Justice and Equity to the said Hudsons Bay Co. for all damages and Spoil done to their Colonies Ships, Persons and Goods by the Hostile Incursions and Depredations of the French in time of Peace an Estimate
being to be made thereof by Commissarys to be Named at the requisition of each Party.
That in pursuance of the said Treaty & the especial Commission of her said late Majesty Queen Ann dated 20th day of July 1713 the said Bay and Lands then in possession of the French were delivered up to Govr Knight and Kelsey who took possession thereof for the English Hudsons Bay Co. and Commissarys were appointed to settle the said Limits and Adjust the damages the Company had sustained which Damages as appears by an Acco:t delivered to the then Lords Commiss:rs of Trade amounted to upwards of £100,000 and proceedings were had by the said Commissarys towards settling the same but they were never able to bring the settlement of the said Limits to a final Conclusion nor did the said Hudsons Bay Co. ever Receive any Satisfaction for their said damages.
The Boundary line then proposed by the Hudson's Bay Company to be settled as the Limits on the Continent between them and the places belonging to the French at the South End of the said Bay as appears from several Memorials and a Map or Plan then presented by the said Hudsons Bay Co. to the then Lords Commiss:rs of Trade and still remaining in your Lordships Office, was the same as the Line now proposed by your Memorialists for the south East and Southern Boundaries, and to avoid as much as possible any just grounds for differing with the French in agreeing on those Boundaries which lye nearest their Settlements it is laid down so as to leave the French in possession of as much or more land than they can make any just pretension to and at the same time leaves your Memorialists but a very small Tract of Land from the South End of the said Bay necessary for a Frontier.
The National claims of both the French and English with respect to Hudsons Bay and Territory round the same having been formerly discussed in a very particular manner by Commissarys appointed to settle the same and the Papers relating to those Transactions being new remaining in your Lordships office it is conceived that therein will appear the best State of the Rights of both Crowns that can be laid before your Lordships.
Since the Treaty of Utrecht the French and all other Nations have been effectually kept out of Hudsons Bay and Streights and have never offered to come into or Navigate on the same with any Ship, Vessel or Boat nor have they had or made any Settlement on the Coast of the said Bay or carryed on any Trade there, but the French since the said Treaty as has been reported to your Memorialists from their Factorys in the Bay have at different times made some settlements in different parts Inland to the West of the said Bay within the aforesaid Limits by means of Wood Runners in an Interloping way, both which are conceived and humbly represented to your Lordships as Incroachments on the British Territorys and Trade.
That your Memorialists have used the best endeavours in their power to prevent the French making any Incroachments on the British Territorys in those parts and particularly at the South End of the said Bay where by the Neighbourhood of the French there is most to be apprehended ; your
Memorialists have made a Settlement many years since upon the principal River there called Moose River which runs from a great distance South into the Bay and have also erected a Fort, Mounted with Cannon for the defence of that settlement and preventing the French Entering the Bay by any Navigation down that River, and your Memorialists on another Principal River called Albany River that likewise falls into the Bay towards the South End thereof and comes a great way from the West Erected another Fort called Henley at the Distance of 120 Miles up that River your Memorialists thereby endeavouring to Guard their Territorys both to the South and West against the French Frontier and which Forts & Settlements of your Memorialists are maintained & supported by them at considerable Expence and your Memorialists have in like manner for their further Defence towards the West erected a Fort at Flamborough head on Fort Nelson River and have also sev:ll other Settlements of Forts at the Entrance of the principal Rivers that come into the Bay from the Westward particularly on Churchill River, Hayes River and the said Albany River and also on the East side of the Bay at Slade River and Artiwinepeck Bay—And have also several Ships and Vessels Navigating the Streights and Bay at proper seasons some of which remain there the whole Year ; and the Natives all round the Bay by means of the Rivers that fall into the same on breaking up of the Ice come down in Canoes from the Country several Hundred Miles inland to Trade with the Co. bringing with them large Quantitys of Beaver and other Furrs the produce of that Cold Climate and taking in Exchange the British Manufactures which the Co. have allways ready to supply them with and which the Indians carry back with them for their own Consumption and use, and to dispose of amongst the other Natives there and which it is apprehended is better performed by them than could be done by Europeans, as the Rivers that Run into the Bay admit of no Navigation for Ships or other Vessels of Burthen at any considerable Distance up the same, and the Climate round the Bay is so Extreamly cold as to admit of no Agriculture the Indians in those parts being altogether a Wandering People, wholly Subsisting themselves by Hunting, living on the wild Beasts they Kill and Bartering their Furrs.
That your Memorialists apprehend it will be for the Benefit of this Kingdom that the Limits of the Territorys granted to your Memorialists and the places appertaining to the French should be settled upon the footing herein before mentioned, and that the French should be obliged to remove all Incroachments they have made within the said Limits, by breaking up their Settlements and restraining their Wood Runners from Entering the same—And that no Ship or Vessel should be suffered to pass to the North-westward of the said Grimmingtons Island or Cape Perdrix or into the Bay or Streights of Hudson on any Pretence whatsoever—And that the French or any Employed by them should not come to the North or Northwestward of the aforesaid Line to be drawn from Grimmingtons Island on the South East and Southern Boundaries of the British Factories either by Land or Water, or through any Rivers, Lakes, or Countrys, to Trade or Erect any
Fort or Settlem:t whatsoever, and that your Memorialists on the other hand should not pass that Line either to the South or South Eastward.
All which is most humbly submitted to Your Lordships.
(L.S.) Corn's Seal.
Hudsons Bay House,
3d Octo., 1750.
By Order of the Gov. & Committee
CHAS. HAY Secy.