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ROBERT AND JAMES ROGERS.
Among the figures that stand out in the troublesome times that form the background of our Provincial history, none challenges the admiration of the average reader more than that of Robert Rogers, the gallant, indomitable, Ranger, and the patriotic loyalist.
The two brothers, Robert and James Rogers, gave most valuable service to Great Britain. Robert Rogers played a brilliant part in the Seven Years' War in command of Rogers’ Rangers. He went on the first British Expedition up the Great Lakes, after the cession of the Canadas. He made the voyage in whaleboats, from Montreal to Detroit, placing the Union Jack where the white standard of the Bourbons had floated over the French forts. Shortly afterwards he retired to England, and there his various books were published: “Journals of Major Robert Rogers," London 1765, 8 vo., “A Concise Account of North America,” by Major Robert Rogers, London, 1765, 8 vo., Dublin, 1770, 12 mo., "Ponteach, a Tragedy," London, 1776. He fought in Northern Africa in the Algerine service, and he was assigned to service in the East Indies when the Revolutionary War broke out, when he returned to the theatre of his early exploits. He was arrested shortly after arrival in Philadelphia and submitted to the disposal of Congress. Released on parole, he was re-arrested and consigned as a prisoner to be dealt with by the New Hampshire Assembly. Effecting an escape he reached the British lines and received the commission of a colonel in the British service from Gen. Howe. Quickly he succeeded in raising the famous Queen's Rangers, his successor in the command being Colonel, afterwards LieutenantGovernor Simcoe. Broken in health Rogers returned to England, only to come back again in 1779 for further service at the front. He was then commissioned by Sir Henry Clinton to raise a regiment of two battalions to be known as the King's Rangers, called popularly Rogers' King's Rangers. He accomplished the task thus assigned to him and the corps gave excellent service until the close of the war, shortly after which, in 1784, the veteran soldier passed peacefully away. The year 1800 is given by some writers as that of his death, but 1784 is that believed by his relatives to be the correct date. He died unmarried in England.
James served as Commandant of one battalion of the King's Rangers, raised by his brother Robert, which formed part of the garrison at St. Johns, Quebec, during the Revolutionary War. He, with about 200 of his corps, settled after the Peace, in the Bay of Quinte district, where his descendants prospered and still form an important element of the population. His service went back to the campaigns in Canada and Cape Breton under Wolfe and Amherst, having been present at Louisburg, Quebec, and Montreal. After the Pontiac War he devoted his time to the building up of a large estate in the Province of New York, afterwards Vermont. Partly by grant as a reward for his services, and partly by purchase, he acquired considerable property from twenty miles west of the Connecticut River to the shores of Lake Champlain. The crown patent for 22,000 acres of this estate in Windham County is now in the Ontario Bureau of Archives. He placed a value of from thirty to forty thousand pounds on this property, and this case illustrates the sacrifice made by very many of the loyalists who gave up luxury and comfort for the sake of principles held dear. Colonel James Rogers died in the year 1792.
The government of France made provision in its colonization scheme for the conversion and civilization of the Indians, and the early charters and grants of Seigniories often contain clauses to that effect.
The concessions of land appear to have been made chiefly with the view of reasonably good settlement as such statements as these would indicate :-"The King being possessed of the same desire as the deceased Henri le Grand, his father...... had to seek out and discover...... in the country of New France, a locality suitable for the establishment of a Colony, and by that means to lead the inhabitants to a knowledge of the true God, to civilize them and to derive from the said lands some advantageous commerce for the benefit of the King's subjects." Again :-"The wish to settle advantageously the Colony of New France, causing us to seek out those who would contribute to that end their own influence and property,” etc. The first and main object it was stated, of establishing a French Colony in Canada, was the advancing in the most remote countries "the glory of God and the Christian name.
Under the French regime land in Canada was held under the Seigniorial system, introduced gradually by Letters Patent of 1598; by instructions to the Governor in 1626 regulating charges, and conceding lands to the Jesuits; and by the Charter of 1627-28 to the Hundred Associates, by which the Associates became the feudal proprietors of Canada, and exercised the rights of proprietary government. In 1663 the Associates surrendered their charter, and in the following year, the West India Company obtained its charter with proprietary rights and government, which continued for ten years. De Frontenac, the Governor, and Duchesneau, the Intendent, were then authorized to make grants of land subject to ratification by the Crown, thus finally bringing about direct government grants, under five forms of tenure thus specified:
(1) In Franc Aleu Noble. This was of all forms the most free and honorable, lands held thus being subject to no obligations of a feudal nature. One of these grants was a strip of land near Three Rivers to the Jesuits in the year 1634. Another was a grant to the same order, of Charlebourg, near Quebec, in 1637.
(2) In Franc Aleu Rotouriér.-This form was very similar to our free and common soccage. Land thus held was free and subject to no obligations other than the general ones to which its holder was liable as a citizen of France. The grant of Gaudarville to Lauzon in 1652 was under this form.
(3) In Franc Aumone (or mortmain).—Numerous grants were made under this form, invariably to religious, charitable or educational institutions, the sole obligation attached to the grant being that of performing certain charitable or educational duties in return. An instance of this is the grant in 1647 of La Prairie de la Madelaine to the Jesuits, "in order that we may be participating in their prayers and holy sacrifices.'
(4) En Fief or en Seigneurie.--It was under this form that most of the territory was granted.
As to size, there was no fixed rule--the grants varied from 16 arpents by 50 (arpent-192 ft.) to 10 leagues by 12.
Sub-grants might be made by the Seigniors under the following forms:
En arriere fief; by which the sub-tenant enjoyed the rights and assumed the obligations as the lessor, or Seignior had originally enjoyed.
En censive; by this tenure the grantee could not sub-let. Some encensive grants were made by the Crown direct, as in the case of some of the settlers at Fort Ponchartrain, Detroit, where the original seigniorial subgrants were declared invalid and new titles issued direct from the Crown, according to the following list to be found in the Registers of Intendance and Superior Council:
Date of Grant.
By Beauharnois & Hocquart
40 41 40 4
16 June, 1734. Chauvin, 3 July,
Pierre Estave dit Le Jeune. 4
Louis Campault.. 6
Marsal Derochers, Pere. 7
Jean Chapoton... 8
Pierre Maloche.. 9
Jn. Gilbert, Sanspeur. 10
Jacques Campault. 11
La Deroute 14
St. Aubin, Pere.. 16
St. Aubin, Fils. 17
Fran. Lauson. 1 Sept., 1736. Chas. Bonhomme dit Beaupre.. 2
Jacques Cardinal, Pere.. 3
Jacques Cardinal, Fils.
Joseph du Tremble.. 6
Frans Gilbert Sanspeur. 7
Claude Campauli.. 8
Pierre Cosme. 9
Pierre Laurent.. 10
Gaetan Saguin. 11
Pierre Saguin.. 12
Gabl. Casse St. Aubin. 13
Jacques Casse St. Aubin. 14
Etienne Saffard. 15
Hebert Hebert. 16
Jean Bapt. Maller. 18 Feby., 1743. Jean Chapoton... 30 May, 1745. Jean Bapt. Beaubien. 1
1747. Robert Navarre.. 1
Eustache Gamelin. 1 April, 1750.... Le Chevr. de Longueuil . 1
Pierre Reaume.. 1
Joseph Gillet... 1 May, 1747.... Marie Barrois. 1 April
, 1750. Alexis Delisle. 1
Charles Chesne.. 1
Claude Audry 1
Zacharie Chicot. 1
Hyacinthe Reaume.. 1
Claude L'esprit dit Chamagne. 1
Antoine Robert. 1
Antonie Campault. 1
Pierre Labadie. 1
Alexis Chesne. 1
Vital Caron. 1
Pierre Fenville.. 1
Francois Barrois.. 1
Desbuttes St. Martin. 1
Jacques Godet.... 16 May, 1753. Dequindre....
Lafoncaire & Bigot
Hocquart Lafoncaire & Bigot
Duquesne & Bigot
The rights of the Seignior over his tenants differed considerably from those exercised by the feudal lord in France over his vassal, and the main points of difference show that the policy underlying the laws was the settlement and cultivation of the soil. They consisted of the cens et rentes, lods et ventes, droit de banal, and of corvee, thus explained :
Cens et rentes. A ground rent composed of two parts, the cens payable in money, the rentes payable in kind or equivalent in money. The cens corresponds to the supériorité, or the first right of the lord in the lands held by the vassal or tenant. It was a small amount. The rentes corresponded to the ordinary tenants' rent, and consisted generally of one-half minot of corn or one fat capon for each superficial arpent but these might be commuted for cash at the current rate, which varied from ten to twenty sols. The habitant held by the inferior tenure, en censive, which consisted in the obligation to make annual payments in money, or produce, or both. These payments were known as cens et rentes, and in the early days were very small, a common charge being half a sou and half a pint of wheat for each arpent. One condition was imposed on Seignior and Censitaire alike, which may be said to form the distinctive feature of Canadian feudalism, namely, that of clearing his land within a limited time on pain of forfeiting it.
Lods et ventes. On alienation of land by sale the seignior received a twelfth part of the purchase price. Here came in also the seignior's droit de retraite, by virtue of which he could pre-empt any property sold by payment to the purchaser of the mutation price within forty days from the date of sale affording protection against loss of rent and the slaughtering of the price of land by the censitaire.
Droit de banal required that all wheat should be ground at the seignior's mill.
Corvee empowered the seignior to enforce certain free labor from the censitaire within the seigniory.
Other seigniorial rights were the reservation of wood and stone necessary for building the manor, church or mill; the right of hunting on the tenants' lands; the right to one fish in every eleven caught in the waters fronting the seigniory; the right of ferry over rivers, &c.
The sovereign revoked at will concessions made to companies, without indemnification, and sometimes forfeiture was declared against individuals on account of default in fulfilling the settlement duties. The reciprocal relations and duties of the Seignior to the King and of the Censitaire (subordinate tenant) to the Seignior were regulated by custom, and the Edicts and Royal Decrees, and the ordinances and decisions of the Intendants, established the jurisprudence in matters of interpretation. The respective relations between Censitaire and Seignior are set forth in the Edict of 1663, the Arrêts, 1672-1711, especially the Arrêts of Marly, 6th July, 1711, which defines the obligations of the Seignior to the Settler in the following terms :-“And His Majesty ordains that all the Seigniors in the said Country of New France shall concede to the settlers the lots of land which they may demand of them in their Seigniories, at a ground rent, and without exacting from them any sum of money as a consideration for such concessions; otherwise and default of their so doing, His Majesty, permits the said settlers to demand the said lots of land from them by a formal summons, and in case of their refusal, to make application to the Governor and Lieutenant-General and Intendant of the said country, whom His Majes