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invalid and perhaps forfeited to the French Crown before the Conquest or that they declined the acceptance of British Confirmations subject to Quit Rents and new Patent Charges, intending to set themselves up as sufficient under the Capitulation Articles in the Courts of Law, upon the supposition that they were within the Ancient Dominions of the Crown of France, and agreeable thereto this Government began again to Grant Lands in that Quarter, and convinced the practice until Your Excellency was pleased to communicate to the Council his Majestys 50th Instruction prohibiting Patents for Lands to the Northward of Crown Point, claimed under French Titles, and if the late Grants of this Province are detrimental to those Claimants, the Committee are of Opinion that the Blame falls upon themselves, as it is owing to their neglecting to give the Information naturally to be expected, if they intended to submit to and take advantage of the Royal order of the 12th August 1768.
The Committee observe that among the Papers now transmitted from Quebec, there are no French Concessions and Ratifications for any of the Lands mentioned in the List of those said to be Granted en Roture, nor for several of those in the List of the Seigneuries, besides those specified in Mr Cramahe's Letter to your Excellency, nor is there a single petition sent or preferred by either of those Claimants for a Confirmation under this Province of any of theii Grants, which is the more extraordinary as Your Excellency's Proclamation required a full exhibition of their Titles, and the Crown is greatly interested in the Question concerning the Validity of the French Claims in the Articles both of Quit Rents and Escheats, their pretentions extending not only to a vast Quantity of Land, but to Lands the more valuable for their Contiguity to the Forts and Passes, and the Navigable Waters of the Lake: and from the whole we conjecture that this Conduct is owing to their adopting an Opinion which deserves a serious attention to wit: That the Lands they Claim are situated to the Northward of
the Antient British Claim, and that consequently they can maintain a Title under the Surrender without the aid of the Crown, and free from the usual Reservations, Restrictions, Conditions, and Quit Rents.
With respect therefore to the Lands Southward of Crown Point, and to those to the Northward of that Fort, not within the Limits of the French Grants, we are of Opinion that your Excellency may issue Patents for them as Lands to which the 50th Article of the Royal Instructions has clearly no Relation.
Nor do we think that Article ought to be considered to prohibit the Grant of those Tracts to which no French Concessions or Ratifications appear to be transmitted from Quebec, nor any Excuse assigned for not laying them before this Government pursuant to the late Proclamation, it being very plain from the Instruction that it was intended to restrain only new Patents for Lands before claimed by Titles derived from the French King, and prior to the Surrender of Canada and as clear that it was the indispensable Duty of all such Claimants in Justice to the Crown to give due Notice of their Claims.
But in due deference to his Majesty's authority, we advise as to the Lands to the Northward of Crown Point, and included by the Concessions & Ratifications lately notified to this Government, that all Petitions for them or any part of them be sent Home, together with Copies of the French Grants for His Majesty's Royal consideration.
Several points of Enquiry will arise upon those Grants, concerning which the Committee chuse not to decide, on account of their singular Importance and Delicacy. 1st. Whether a Title, if good under the French Government
will by the Surrender be valid by our Laws, without the Royal Confirmation; or in other Words whether the Capitulation gives more to the French Grantee, than an Equitable Right to be preferred before others in the Application for a
new Grant ? 2ndly. Whether those Lands were not forfeited to the Crown of
France by the Conditions in the Grants before the Surrender,
and so became thereby transferred to his Majesty ? And 3rdly Whether they were not within the Antient British Claim
and consequently never Grantable by the Crown of France ? And upon this last Question the Committee beg Leave to remark that the British Claim of Dominion before the last War, extended
to the Southerly Bank of the River St. Lawrence, and by Treaty to all the Country of the Six Nations in particular, of which the controverted Grants are a part, and we find that so early as the 3rd of September 1696, a patent did pass to Godfrey Dellius, under the Seal of this Province, for Lands including some of those now claimed under the Canadian Grants, greatly to the Northward of Crown Point, of which the French were not possessed till nearly forty years afterwards, to wit about the year 1731, and whether it is imputable to the Consciousness in the French of their want of Title or to any other Cause, the Committee cant help observing to your Excellency that in Fact very few Settlements or Improvements were found upon any of those Canadian Grants, except about the French Forts at or since the Conclusion of the last Peace; the Country near Lake Champlain, but for the late Settlements under this Colony, being in general in a wild and uncultivated State.
And as it may be of essential Moment to the reduced Officers and soldiers and others who have seated themselves in that District that his Majesty be fully informed of the numerous Patents that have passed the Seal of this Colony since the acquisition of Canada, we recommend it to your Excellency to order the Surveyor General to frame a Map exhibiting the French Grants and English Patents to the Northward of Crown Point, to be laid before bis Majesty with all convenient speed, with a List of the Patentees and an account of the Quantity of Land contained in their Patents and the Quitrents they are chargeable with. And for the security and satisfaction of the French Grantees, we also advise that in the Interim the several papers referred to us, be filed in the Secretarys Office, and a Copy of this Report and the Order to be made thereon transmitted to the Commander in Chief of Quebec. All which is nevertheless most humbly submitted by your Excellency's
Most obedt humble servants, Council Chamber at By order of the Committee, Fort George, in New York Wm Smith, Chairman.
January 6th 1772. And thereupon It is ordered by his Excellency the Governor with the advice of the Council, that the Surveyor General of this Province do frame a Map exhibiting the French Grants, and the Patents which have passed the seal of this Colony to the Northward of Crown Point, in order to be laid before his Majesty, with a List of the Patentees, and an account of the Quantity of Land contained in their Patents, and the Quit rents they are chargeable with. That the several papers referred to in the Report of the Committee be filed in the Secretary's office, and that a Copy of the said Report and of this Order be prepared in order to be transmitted to the Commander in Chief of Quebec.
GOVR. TRYON TO LORD HILLSBOROUGH.
New York 1. Septr. 1772 My Lord—I have had the honor to receive your Lordship's dispatches No. 11, 12 & 13.
It is matter of real concern to me to learn the consideration of the Canada Claims has not undergone a final decision. Upon a more strict examination of the claims of the French grantees to lands within this Governt I cannot be persuaded that the last Treaty of peace, or the articles of the Capitulation at the surrender of Canada gives any valid title to such claims. The territory southwards of St. Lawrence River has been always acknowledged the property of the Five Nations, subjects or allies of Great Brittain, & as the French settlements, as well as grants within that district were made, not under the sanction of Cession, purchase or conquest, but by intrusion, the justice of the Title of those claimants seems to rest on His Majtys generosity which will operate no doubt as powerfully in the behalf of those Officers & Soldiers, who now hold a great part of those disputed lands under grants from this provce in consequence of His Majesty's proclamation in 1763.