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These and other considerations Us moving, We have constituted, ordained and established, and by these Presents signed by our hands, do constitute, ordain and establish the said Sieur de Prouville Tracy Our Lieutenant General in the entire extent of territory under Our obedience situate in South and North America, the continent and islands, rivers, ports, harbors and coasts discovered and to be discovered by Our subjects, for, and in the absence of, said Count D'Estrades, Viceroy, to have command over all the Governors, Lieutenant Generals by Us established, in all the said Islands, Continent of Canada, Acadie, Newfoundland, the Antilles etc. likewise, over all the Officers and Sovereign Councils established in all the said Islands and over the French Vessels which will sail to the said Country, whether of War to Us belonging, or of Merchants, to tender a new oath of fidelity as well to the Governors and Sovereign Councils as to the three orders of the said Islands; enjoining said Governors, Officers and Sovereign Councils and others to recognize the said Sieur de Prouville Tracy and to obey him in all that he shall order them; to assemble the commonalty when necessary; cause them to take up arms; to take cognizance of, settle and arrange all differences which have arisen or may arise in the said Country, either between Seigniors and their Superiors, or between private inhabitants; to besiege and capture places and castles according to the necessity of the case; to cause pieces of artillery to be dispatched and discharged against them; to establish garrisons where the importance of the place shall demand them; to conclude peace or truces according to circumstances either with other Nations of Europe established in said Country, or with the barbarians; to invade either the continent or the Islands for the purpose of seizing New Countries or establishing New Colonies, and for this purpose to give battle and make use of other means he shall deem proper for such undertaking; to command the people of said Country as well as all our other Subjects, Ecclesiastics, Nobles, Military and others of what condition soever there residing; to cause our boundaries and our name to be extended as far as he can, with full power to establish our authority there, to subdue, subject and exact obedience from all the people of said Countries, inviting them by all the most lenient means possible to the knowledge of God, and the light of the Faith and of the Catholic Apostolic and Roman Religion, and to establish its exercise to the exclusion of all others; to defend the said Countries with all his power; to maintain and preserve the said people in peace, repose and tranquillity, and to command both on sea and land; to order and cause to be executed all that he, or those he will appoint, shall judge fit and proper to be done, to extend and preserve said places under Our
authority and obedience. It will be seen from this that the King's reliance in accomplishing the end he had in view was on force rather than on fair dealing with the natives. Nowhere in this commission or in any of the grants is there any direct recognition of the Indians' possessory title, or an expressed desire that they be secured in possession of the lands they occupy, or that are necessary for their use. It is well known to all who are familiar with the history of French dominion in Louisiana and Canada, that resort was often made to the policy of secretly fomenting quarrels between Indian tribes, and thus, by wars between themselves, so weaken them as to render it less difficult to bring them under control.
That no idea of purchasing or pretending to purchase the possessory right of the natives had been entertained by the French up to 1686, is evident from a passage in the letter of M. de Denonville to M. de Seignelay, May 8, 1686,' where he states: “The mode observed by the English with the Iroquois, when desirous to form an establishment in their neighborhood, has been, to make them presents for the purchase of the fee and property of the land they would occupy. What I consider most certain is, that whether we do so, or have war or peace with them, they will not suffer, except most unwillingly, the construction of a fort at Niagara.” That the war policy was the course adopted is a matter of history.
How, then, are we to account for the fact that the relations of the French with the Indians under their control were, as a general rule, more intimate and satisfactory to both parties than those of other nations? Parkman has remarked that “The power of the priest established, that of the temporal ruler was secure.
Spanish civilization crushed the Indian; English civilization scorned and neglected him; French civilization embraced and cherished him.” Although this can not be accepted as strictly correct in every respect, yet it is true that intimate, friendly relations existed between the French and their Indian subjects, which did not exist between the Spanish or English and the native population. However, this can not be attributed to the legal enactments or defined policy of the French, but rather to their practical methods.
New York Colonial Documents, Vol. IX, p. 289. (Appearing in original text.)
Instead of holding the natives at arm's length and treating them only as distinct and inferior people and quasi independent nations, the French policy was to make them one with their own people, at least in Canada. This is expressly declared in the following extracts:
Colbert, writing to Talon, April 6, 1666, says:
In order to strengthen the Colony in the manner you propose, by bringing the isolated settlements into parishes, it appears to me, without waiting to depend on the new colonists who may be sent from France, nothing would contribute more to it than to endeavor to civilize the Algonquins, the Hurons and other Indians who have embraced Christianity, and to induce them to come and settle in common with the French, to live with them and raise their children according to our manners and customs.
In his reply, some seven months later, M. Talon informs Colbert that he has endeavored to put his suggestions into practical operation under police regulations.
In another letter, dated April 6, 1667, Colbert writes to Talon? as follows:
Recommendation to mould the Indians, settled near us, after our manners and language.
I confess that I agreed with you that very little regard has been paid, up to the present time, in New France, to the police and civilization of the Algonquins and Hurons (who were a long time ago subjected to the King's domination,) through our neglect to detach them from their savage customs and to oblige them to adopt ours, especially to become acquainted with our language. On the contrary, to carry on some traffic with them, our French have been necessitated to attract those people, especially such as have embraced Christianity, to the vicinity of our settlements, if possible to mingle there with them, in order that through course of time, having only but one law and one master, they might likewise constitute only one people and one race.
That this was the policy favored by the King is expressly stated by Du Chesneau in his letter to M. de Seignelay, November 10, 1679. “I communicated,” he says, "to the Religious New York Colonial Documents, Vol. IX, p. 43. (Appearing in original text.) 2 Ibid., p. 59.
communities, both male and female, and even to private persons, the King's and your intentions regarding the Frenchification of the Indians. They all promised me to use their best efforts to execute them, and I hope to let you have some news thereof next year. I shall begin by setting the example, and will take some young Indians to have them instructed.
In another letter to the same person, dated November 13,1681,? he says: “Amidst all the plans presented to me to attract the Indians among us and to accustom them to our manners, that from which most success may be anticipated, without fearing the inconveniences common to all the others, is to establish Villages of those people in our midst.”2
That the same policy was in vogue as late as 1704 is shown by the fact that at this time the Abnaki were taken under French protection and placed, as the records say, “In the center of the colony."
Treaty of Utrecht.
Treaty of peace and friendship between the most serene and most
potent princess Anne, by the grace of God, Queen of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, and the most serene and most potent prince Lewis XIV the Most Christian King, concluded
March at Utrecht the 31 day of
1713 Reprinted from the copy published by the Queen's special command
XV. The subjects of France inhabiting Canada, and others, shall hereafter give no hindrance or molestation to the five nations or cantons of Indians, subject to the dominion of Great Britain, nor to the other natives of America, who are friends to the same. In like manner the subjects of Great Britain, shall behave themselves peaceably towards the Americans, who are subjects or friends to France; and on both sides they shall enjoy full liberty of going and coming on account of trade. As also the natives of those countries shall, with the same liberty, resort, as they please, to the British and French colonies, for promoting trade on one side, and the other, without any molestation or hindrance, either on the part of the British subjects, or of the French. But it is to be exactly and distinctly settled by commissaries, who are, and who ought to be accounted the subjects and friends of Britain, or of France.
New York Colonial Documents, Vol. IX, p. 136. (Appearing in original text). 2 Ibid., p. 150.
3 Treaties of Peace, Alliance, and Commerce, between Great Britain and other Powers, J. Almon, London, MDCCLXXII. Vol. I, p. 107.
The English Policy."
In attempting to determine from history and the records the British policy in dealing with the Indians in regard to their possessory rights, the investigator is somewhat surprised to find (except so far as they relate to the Dominion of Canada and near the close of the government rule over the colonies) the data are not only meager but mostly of a negative character. It must be understood, however, that this statement refers to the policy of the English government as distinct from the methods and policy of the different colonies, which will later be noticed.
The result of this investigation, so far as it relates to the possessions formerly held by Great Britain within the present limits of the United States, would seem to justify Parkman's statement that “English civilization scorned and neglected the Indian," at least so far as it relates to his possessory right. It is a significant fact that the Indian was entirely overlooked and ignored in most, if not all, of the original grants of terriory to companies and colonists. Most of these grants and charters are as completely void of allusion to the native population as though the grantors believed the lands to be absolutely waste and uninhabited.
For example, the letters patent of James I to Sir Thomas Gage and others for “two several colonies,” dated April 10, 1606, although granting away two vast areas of territory greater than England, inhabited by thousands of Indians, a fact of which the King had knowledge both officially and unofficially, do not contain therein the slightest allusion to them.
Eighteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, 1896–1897, pt. 2, p. 549.