Kingston, Ontario – Decree Of Louis XIV. Granting To La Salle The Seigniory Of Cataraqui

The King having caused to be examined, in his Council, the proposals made by Robert Cavelier Sr. de La Salle, setting forth that, if it should please His Majesty to grant him, his heirs, successors and assigns the fort called Frontenac, situated in New France, with four leagues of adjacent country, the islands named Ganounkouesnot and Kaouenesgo, and the adjoining islets, with the right of hunting and fishing on said lands and in the lake called Ontario or Frontenac, and circumjacent rivers, the whole by title of Fief, Seigniory and Justice, appeals from the Judges of which will be to the Lieutenant-General at Quebec, and the Government of said Fort Frontenac, and letters of noblesse, he would cause considerable property he possesses in this kingdom to be transported to the said country of New France, for the erection and establishment there of settlements, which may in the lapse of time contribute greatly to the augmentation of Colonies in said country. Said De La Salle offers to reimburse the sum of ten thousand livres, the amount expended for the construction of said Fort Frontenac, to keep in good order the said Fort and the Garrison necessary for the defence thereof, which cannot be less than that of the Fort of Montreal; to maintain twenty men during nine years for clearing the land which shall be conceded to him ; and until he shall have a church built, to keep a Priest or Friar to perform divine service and administer the Sacraments; which expenses, &c, the said La Salle will defray at his sole cost and charges, until there be established above the Long Sault called Garonouoy some individuals with similar grants to that he demands, in which case those who will have obtained said grants shall be bound to contribute to the said expenses in proportion to the lands which will be granted to them, and having heard the report of Sieur Colbert, Councillor of the King in his Royal Council, and Comptroller-General of Finances, His Majesty in Council has accepted and does accept the said De La Salle’s offers, hath, in consequence, granted to him the propriety of the said Fort called Frontenac, and four leagues of adjacent country, computing at two thousand toises each league, along the lakes and rivers above and below said fort, and half a league, or one thousand toises inland; the islands named Ganounkouesnot and Kaounesgo, and the adjacent islands, with the right of hunting and fishing on said Lake Ontario and circumjacent rivers; the whole by title of Fief and in full Seigniory and Justice ; on condition that he cause to be conveyed immediately to Canada all the effects he possesses in this Kingdom, which cannot be less than the sum of 10,000 livres in money or moveables; that he produce a certificate from Count de Frontenac, His Majesty’s Lieutenant-General in said country ; reimburse the sum of 10,000 livres expended in the construction of said Fort ; put and maintain it in a good state of defence ; pay and support the Garrison necessary to defend it. which is to be equal at least to that of Montreal ; likewise maintain twenty men during two years to clear the land, who sball not be otherwise employed during that time ; cause a church to be erected within the first six years of grant, and meanwhile to support a Priest or Friar foi the administration of the Sacraments; also induce the Indians to repair thither, give them settlements, and form villages there in society with the French, tc whom he shall give part of said lands to be cleared, all which shall be cleared within the time and space of twenty years to be computed from the next. 1676, otherwise His Majesty shall be at liberty, at the expiration of said time, to dispose of the lands which will not have been cleared or improved. His Majesty wills that appeals from the Judges (to be appointed by the said De La Salle within the limits of the said country conceded by His Majesty), be to the Lieutenant-General of Quebec ; and to that end His Majesty wills that all donatory and concessionary letters hereunto necessary be issued to the said De La Salle, together with those for the government of said Fort Frontenac, and letters of ‘noblesse for him and his posterity.”

Compiegne, May 11, 1675.

This old translation of the original decree is taken from. a sketch of the early history of Kingston by W. George Draper, M.A., published in 1862, by James M. Creighton. In it, also, the name of Ontario is defined as “Great Lake.” from the Huron —Iontare, lake, and Io, great. Toise is the French word for fathom.

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