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GQF. TRYON TO LT. GOV. CRAMAHE.
Quebec 4th August 1773.
Sir, I am honoured with your Letter of this Day with the Report of the Council of your Government on the subject Matter of my Letters to you of the 5th and 25th July.
It is with singular pleasure I can inform you I accept of and assent to the Terms contained in the Reservations of the said Report; at the same time I assure you it never has been nor is my Wish or Design to take any Advantage either over the Jurisdiction of the Government of Quebec, or of French claims lying within the Government of New York; but am determined to wait the declaration of the Royal Mind concerning the Premises; I own I do not apprehend Hazard in paying Obedience to the King's Proclamation of 1763, and carrying into execution the reciprocal obligations of both governments.
THE BOARD OF TRADE TO THE COMMITTEE OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL. % MAY, 1775
[Lond. Doc. XLV. ]
My Lords; Pursuant to your Lordships order dated the 17^ day of June 1772, we have taken into our consideration the Petition of Michel Chartier de Lotbiniere, Chevalier and styling himself Seigneur de Alainville and d'Hocquart, setting forth amongst other things that he has been deprived and dispossessed of his two Lordships of d'Alainville and d'Hocquart situated at the head of Lake Champlain in a most advantageous position and consisting of the best and richest land in the Province of New York to which they were annexed eighteen months after the Treaty of Peace and humbly praying for the reasons therein contained that they [he ?] may be reinstated in the full enjoyment of his said two Lordships in the same manner as when under the Government of France and that he may be reimbursed the expense he has been at in endeavoring to obtain redress therein and to be indemnified for having been kept out of his Estate and property for so long a time as well as for the damage his said Estates may have sustained. Whereupon we beg leave to Report to your Lordships:—
That the Petition of Monsr de Lotbiniere refers to two Tracts of Land under very diiferent circumstances.
With regard to that Tract which is claimed by the Petitioner under a Title derived from a purchase made by him of Monsr d'Hocquart in April 1763 after the conclusion of the Peace with France, it consists of two Seigneuries which amongst several other Seigneuries were granted by the Most Christian King, or under his authority by the Governor of Canada upon Lake Champlain after France had in violation of the Rights of the Crown of Great Britain usurped the possession of the lake and the circumjacent Country and forcibly maintained that possession by erecting in the year 1731 a Fortress at Crown Point.
It appears by th» most authentic evidence upon the Books of our office that Lake Champlain and the circumjacent Country were at all times claimed by the Five Nations of Indians as part of their Possessions and that by agreement with them the Land on both sides the Lake to a very great extent was granted by the Gov8 of New York to British Subjects long before any possession appears to have been taken by the Crown of France which having by the express Stipulation of the fifteenth Article of the Treaty of Utrecht acknowledged the Sovereignty of the Crown of Great Britain over the Five Nations had upon every principle of Justice and Equity precluded itself from any claim to the possession of any part of their Territory.
Upon these Grounds it was that erecting a Fort at Crown Point in 1731 was then, and ever after complained of as an Incroachment on the British Territories and a violation of Our Rights and so carefull were the Ministers of this Country to preserve those Rights that when in consequence of the Treaty of Aix la Chapelle Commissaries were in the Year 1750 appointed to settle with Commissaries on the part of France the limits of each others possessions in North America, they were instructed to insist that France had no right to any possession on the South side of the River St. Lawrence.
Under these circumstances therefore and for as much as we are clearly of opinion that the Stipulations of the Treaty of Paris, by which Canadian property is reserved doth both in the letter and spirit of them refer only to the property and possession of the Canadians in Canada of which we insist that the Country upon Lake Champlain was no part, we cannot recommend to Your Lordships to advise his Majesty to Comply with what is requested by the Petitioner or to do any Act which may in any respect admit a right in the Crown of France to have made those Grants under which the possessions upon Lake Champlain are now claimed either by Canadian Subjects or others deriving that Claim under purchases from them: We do not, however, mean by any opinion of Ours to prejudice their Claims in any suit they may bring for establishing those claims by due course of Law and we submit under any circumstances of the Case the question in dispute between these Claimants and the possessors under New York Grants cannot be properly decided by his Majesty in Council, unless upon any appeal from such Courts as have constitutionally the cognizance of such matters.
On the other hand when we consider that many of his Majesty's subjects trusting to the validity of the Canadian Titles have become proprietors of those Seigneuries under purchases for valuable considerations We cannot but be of opinion that the making Grants under the Seal of New York of any part of those Seigniories was an unjust and unwarrantable proceeding, That the claimants therefore ought to be quieted in the possession of at least those parts which remain yet ungranted by such order as his Majesty's Law Servants shall think more effectual for that purpose that the Governor of New York should receive the most positive orders not to make any further Grants whatever of any part of the Lands within the limits of any of those Seigneuries and that a suitable compensation should be ma.de to the Claimants for what has already been taken away by giving them gratuitous Grants, equivalent in quantity, in other parts of his Majesty's Provinces of Quebec or New York.
With regard to the other Tract claimed by the petitioner under the description of the concession of d'Alainville, when we consider its situation to the South of Crown Point, that it is stated to have been Granted to him at a time when his Majesty's armies had penetrated into, and occasionally possessed themselves of the Country and that independent of these objections there is no evidence of the Grants having been ratified by the Crown of France, or registered within the Colony, we cannot recommend to Your Lordships to advise His Majesty to give any countenance thereto; But the Petitioner, if he thinks he has a good title, should be left to establish that Title by due course of law in such mode as he shall be advised to pursue for that purpose.
Having said thus much upon the merits of the Petition itself, in so far as it regards the validity of the Petitioner's title to the Lands he claims we think it necessary in Justice to the Noble Lord, that presided at this Board in the year 1764 to take some notice of what is alledged therein, in respect to the declaration said to have been made by his Lordship to the effect of what is stated by the petitioner; and to observe that admitting that his Lordship had, in conversation with the petitioner made use of the expressions he states, they could only refer to possessions and property in general any where, to which he could shew a legal title \ and as an evidence of this meaning we beg leave to lay before your Lordships the annexed Extract of a Letter to the Lieutenant Governor of New York written in consequence of the petitioners application and subscribed by the Earl of Hillsborough which is so far from admitting a Title in the petitioner to those Lands which he claims in particular that it expressly reserves any discussion upon that question until the evidence of the legality of the Title should be more authentically adduced and in the mean time with equal Justice & humanity forbids any further Grants being made within the limits of the Seigneuries claimed by the Petitioner.
We are my Lords
Your Lordships Most Obedient and
Most humble Servants Dartmouth Soame Jenyns Bamber Gascoyne Whitehall Whitshed Keene
May 25. 1775. Greville
THE BOARD OF TRADE TO THE COMMITTEE OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL FEB, 13th 1776.
[Lond. Doc. XLVI. ]
My Lords—Pursuant to your Lordships Order of the 21st. Dec. last We have taken into our consideration the Matters therein contained respecting the case of Michel Chartiere de Lotbiniere stiling himself Signeur d'Alainville and de Hocquart and the reasonableness of making some adequate compensation to him for his pretensions to the said Lordships of Alainville and de Hocquart by recommending him to His Majesty for a grant of Land in some one of his Majesty's American Provinces in consideration of his said pretensions as well as of the losses and expenses in which he has been involved by the proceedings of His Majesty's Governors of New York in Granting away Lands within the aforementioned Lordships in express disobedience to orders received from hence whereupon we beg leave to Report to your Lordships.
That before we state Our opinion of what may be a reasonable compensation to M. Lotbiniere in the matter referred We must observe that although his claims extend to both the Lordships of Alainville and Hocquart yet upon a review of our proceeding in "his Case we cannot for the reasons set forth in Our report to your Lordships of the 25th of May last see any such foundation in his pretensions to Alainville as can warrant the advising any compensation whatever to be made to him for his interest in that Lordship so that whatever we have to recommend will be grounded solely on his claim to the Lordship of Hocquart and the consideration of the losses and expenses in which [he] has been involved by the proceedings of the Governor of New York.
The Lordship of Hocquart is described as lying on the East side of Lake Champlain extending four leagues in front and five leagues in Depth and maybe computed to contain about 115,000 acres of Land.
By the proceedings of the Council of New York on the 2nd day of Septr. 1771 it appears that almost the whole of this Lordship was granted away under the Seal of New York principally to officers and soldiers according to His Majesty's proclamation of the 7* Oct. 1773 [1763 ?]
As the greatest part therefore and probably the best in quality of those lands has been thus granted away we think that the most equitable way of making compensation to M. Lotbiniere will j be j for his Majesty to direct the Governor of Quebec to make a new Grant to M. Lotbiniere of other Lands within that Colony equivalent as nearly as may be in point of extent and in the advantages of Soil and Situation to that of Hocquart to be held upon the like terms and considerations as Lands are now held by his Majesty's other Canadian Subjects; provided that upon his being put in possession of this Grant he shall cause a full and ample surrender to be made of all his right and title to the aforesaid Lordship of Hocquart so that the present occupants who chiefly consist of Officers and Soldiers disbanded at the conclusion of the last war may be quieted & secured in their possessions. At the same time that we state this as what we think will be a liberal compensation to M. Lotbiniere, we should have been glad to have informed your Lordships that he had acquiesced in the same sentiments but as he has declined giving his attendance at Our Board though invited thereto we submit the whole to your Lordships with this observation that if M. Lotbiniere shall not think proper to accept the proposed compensation it will then remain for him to pursue his claim or Claims by due Course of Law in such manner as he shall be advised.
We are my Lords your Lordships
Most obedient and humble servants
C. F. Greville. Whitehall Feb. 13,1776