George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lotbinière, 18 June 1789

From Lotbinière

New York June 18th 1789

Sir,

The Memorial of the Marquis de Chartier de Lotbiniere &ca makes known and represents to you most respectfully

That he is original Proprietor of two large manors and Seignories situated at the head of Lake Champlain and bordering on each bank of the head of said Lake.

The one on the west bank was granted to him under the denomination of Allainville in front about four Leagues (of 2,520 fathoms each) to begin at the lower end of the Lake St Sacrament or new Lake George, at the small Island at present denominated Mouton near the carrying place, extending towards the north along the river as far as the point aux Habitans (at about four miles to the southward of Crown Point) by five leagues deep to the west—without any other reservation of ground on the whole of said Extent, than the place occupied by the fortifications of Carillon (or Ticonderoga) and of the additional fortifications afterwards judged necessary.

The other on the East bank of the head of the said lake, in front four leagues granted to Mr Hocquart (at that time Intendant in Canada) and sold by him to the Memorialist shortly after the treaty of Peace of 1763, the said front beginning at about half of a league to the southward of the Pointe aux Cheminées (Place for his seignorial Manor reserved in his Domain) extending from thence, northerly along the said lake to the End of the said four leagues by depth Easterly five leagues; which said two seignories in like manner as their other properties of whatever Nature and kind they might be, have been preserved and secured to the said two Proprietors by the general capitulation of Canada, and have been guaranteed to them by the two last subsequent treaties of Peace.

All that part of Lake Champlain from the 45th degree of north latitude having been reserved by Proclamation of his Britannic Majesty at the time of the Establishment of the new government of Quebec &ca and that reserve having been annexed to the Province of New York in July 1764, with express prohibition to the then Governor to make any grant of land throughout the whole Extent of those two seignories, not even in their vicinity until their situation should be perfectly known⟨;⟩ they must have been constantly considered, first in the said province, and afterwards in the State of New York as a sacred Deposit, belonging to the Memorialist⟨,⟩ which ought to be delivered up to him wholly, and the most faithfully as soon as it was possible for the Government of the United States to arrange every thing on the subject to their full satisfaction.

This is the basis on which it should stand, on which it is the most truly founded, and on which it is at present more firmly founded than ever, as the said Government is established for ever.

Therefore, Sir, what he expects, as soon as possible, from your extreme justness and exactness is to give to the treaties the natural and complete effect which they should have.

And he shall ever pray for the preservation of your life and the greatest prosperity of the United States.1

Le Mis de Chartier De Lotbiniere.

LB (translation), DLC:GW; ALS and translation, DNA:PCC, item 78; LB, DNA: RG 59, Domestic Letters. The text is taken from a translation prepared for GW.

For background to the memorial, see the source note to Lotbinière, 2 Jan. 1789. Although, as John Jay pointed out in his letter to GW of 15 July enclosing Lotbinière’s 18 June memorial, “it is difficult to ascertain what it is precisely that he wishes to have done,” Lotbinière was apparently more specific in his petition to Congress. On 5 Sept. a memorial from him was read in the House of Representatives stating his claim to the two manors and seigniories “to the possession of which the United States have succeeded by virtue of the late treaty of peace with Great-Britain, and that he may receive an equivalent for the same, and a just compensation for the time he has been deprived of the possession thereof.” On 9 Sept. the House of Representatives rejected his petition (DHFC description begins Linda Grant De Pauw et al., eds. Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789-March 3, 1791. 20 vols. to date. Baltimore, 1972—. description ends , 3:182–83, 196–97). See also his letter to GW of 21 July 1789.

1The original French version of this document reads: “le Memoire du Marquis de Chartier de Lotbiniere, &c. fait voir Et vous Représente très respectueusement.

“Qu’il Est propriétaire originaire de deux grands fiéfs Et Seigneuries Situées à la tête du lac Champlain, Et bordant Chaque Rive de Cette tête de lac.

“l’une Sur la Rive de l’ouest a lui concédée Sous la dénomination d’allainville, d’un front d’Environ quatre lieues (de 2520 toîses chacune) à commencer au bas du lac St Sacrement, ou Nouveau lac George, à la petite isle au Mouton (dénomination présente), près le portage, S’Etendant vers le Nord le long de la Riviere Jusqu’à la pointe aux habitans (à Environ quatre milles au Sud de Crown point), Sur une profondeur à l’ouest de cinq lieues; Sans autre Réserve de terrein Sur toute la dite Etendue que l’Emplacement occupé par les fortifications de Carillon (ou ticonderoga), Et celui des fortifications En augmentation Jugées nécessaires par la Suite.

“l’autre Sur la Rive de l’Est de la tête du dit lac d’un front de quatre lieues, concédée a M. hocquart (àlors Jntendant En canada), Et Vendue par lui au Mémorialiste peu àprês le traité de paix de 1763. le dit front commençant à Environ une demie lieue au Sud de la pointe aux cheminées (Emplacement de Son Manoir Seigneurial, Sur Son domaine réservé), S’Etendant de là vers le Nord le long du dit lac jusqu’au bout des dites quatre lieues, Sur une profondeur à l’Est de cinq lieues. les quelles dites deux Seigneuries, de même que leurs autres propriétés de quelques Nature Et Espéce qu’Elles fussent, ont Eté conservées Et assurées aux deux dits propriétaires par la capitulation générale du Canada, Et leur ont Eté garanties par les deux derniers traités de paix Subséquens.

“toute cette partie du lac Champlain, depuis le 45e. degré de latitude Nord, ayant Eté Mise En réserve par la proclamation de S.M.B. lors des Erections du Nouveau gouvernement de Quebec, ⟨H.C.⟩; Et cette réserve ayant Eté annéxée En Juillet 1764 a la province de New york, avec défence Expresse au gouverneur àlors d’accorder aucune concession de terrein Sur toute l’Etendue de ces deux Seigneuries, ni même aux Environs Jusqu’a ce que leur position fut parfaitement connue: Elles ont dû Etre considérées constamment dans la dite province d’abord, Et Ensuite dans l’Etat de New york comme un dépôt Sacré appartenant au Mémorialiste qui devoit lui Etre remis En Entier Et le plus fidèlement, aussitôt qu’il auroit Eté possible au gouvernement des Etats unis de ranger toute chose à ce Sujet à Sa Satisfaction Compléte. c’est Surquoi il a dû fonder; Surquoi il S’Est fondé le plus réellement, Et Surquoi il Se fonde plus que Jamais le plus fermement, à présent que le dit gouvernement Est fixé pour toujours.

“C’est aussi, Monsieur, cequ’il attend au plustôt de Vôtre Justice Et Exactitude Extrêmes à donner aux trâités l’Effet naturel Et Complét qu’ils doivent avoir. Et il ne cessera de prier pour la conservation de Vos jours, Et pour la plus grande prospérité des Etats unis” (DNA:PCC, item 78).

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