America and West Indies Colonial Papers: June 1661

Statement of the case of Thomas Temple and William Crowne, and how they became proprietors of Nova Scotia. In 1656, when the Lord de La Tour was compounding with Cromwell to get his country of Nova Scotia again, but not being able to pay what Cromwell required, he requested Temple and Crowne to undertake it for him, and so by the advice of Sir Orlando Bridgeman, La Tour by deed conveyed all his right and title in Nova Scotia, with all his profits and privileges, to said Temple and Crowne and their heirs and assigns for ever, the consideration to pay 1,800l. to Cromwell’s soldiers, then in La Tour’s forts ; 3,376l. 18s. to the relict of Major Gibbons, of New England, for redemption of mortgage on La Tour’s fort of St. John’s, the 20th skin of all furs taken within said country, and the 20th part of the increase of the earth, free from all charge. Accordingly they took possession and built houses, and to regain a house taken by the French cost men’s lives and 10,000l. La Tour’s title :As a discoverer 55 years since, where he built his fort upon the river of St. John, and bath continually dwelt. In 1621 Sir Wm. Alexander obtained a grant of all Nova Scotia to him, his heirs and assigns for ever, with power to create baronets to encourage planting, which in 1625 was confirmed by Charles I. In 1630 Sir Wm., then Lord, Sterling, conveyed part of Nova Scotia to La Tour and his father, and their heirs and assigns for ever, with certain privileges under the Great Seal of Scotland, and both Lord La Tour and his father were made baronets of Nova Scotia. Lord Sterling two or three years after surrendered Port Royal to the French, for which the King “gave him the Great Seal for 10,000l., not yet paid as ’tis said.” Port Royal was not within La Tour’s grant from Sterling. The French made war upon La Tour at Fort St. John ; he mortgages it to Major Gibbons at New England, but during his absence his fort was surprised by one Doney [D’Aulney] of Port Royal, his men were put to the sword, and his lady was poisoned. La Tour repairs to the King of France for justice, but on his return to Port Royal finds D’Aulney dead, and Port Royal and Penobscot were surrendered to La Tour on his marrying D’Aulney’s widow, and he has enjoyed that part ever since. Major Sedgwick without orders takes La Tour’s forts, kills his men, demolishes his chief fort, plunders him to above 10,000l. in value, and brings him to Cromwell, who restores La Tour to his forts and country upon payment of the sums aforesaid. La Tour for constant adherence to the King of England and being a Protestant is condemned as a traitor in France, and if taken will suffer death, and therefore doubts not of receiving protection in England. Temple and Crowne, the proprietors of Nova Scotia, present certain proposals to the consideration of their Lordships [the Committee of Foreign Plantations], that they be reimbursed the moneys they have paid, or keep the whole trade to themselves, paying to the King 5 per cent. on all goods carried out of the country. They implore a suitable strength against the natives, that they may remain where they have purchased and built in said country, and have liberty to collect their debts from the [Indigenous people], which are above 1,000l. There are no families considerable upon the place but the two proprietors. Indorsed, “Received 22 June 1661.” 3 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XV., No. 64.]

Report of the Committee of Council appointed by the King to examine the pretensions of such persons as claim interest in Nova Scotia or L’Acadie. Thos. Elliot, the plaintiff, claims by a warrant from his Majesty. Thos. Temple and Wm. Crowne, the defendants, by right of discovery, the King’s grant, and many years’ possession. The Committee, having upon the 17th of this present June heard the several parties, find :That on 10th Sept. 1621 King James granted Nova Scotia to Sir Wm. Alexander. King Charles continued this grant 1625. Sir Wm. granted on the 12th April 1630 to De La Tour part of the territories, by the names of two baronies, St. Estienne and La Tour, on condition they should remain faithful to the King of Scotland. A deed of 20th Sept. 1656 from La Tour recites the former grant, and grants to Tho. Temple and Willm. Crowne all the lands, paying the 20th of all pelts and profits of the earth ; and of this they have since been possessed. In 1639 Sir Claude and Sir Chas. St. Estienne, father and son, were made baronets of Nova Scotia for good service. Port Royal and Penobscot were granted by the French for 30,000l. damages about St. John’s Fort, and the French King has condemned La Tour as a traitor. They yield the Dominion of Nova Scotia to the King, and the power of sending a Governor, and offer 5 per cent. customs to support the charge. Quebec they claim not. Mr. Elliott’s counsel allege : That the King was not in possession at the time of his grant, so his grant is void ; and that Sir Wm. Alexander’s grant to La Tour is void, the French being then in possession ; in 1629 the English took all ; in 1632 the French were restored, and La Tour was made Governor ; in 1656 Cromwell having recovered it, passed it to La Tour, Temple, and Crowne ; La Tour held it against Cromwell for the King of France ; Sir Wm. Alexander’s grant to La Tour is void, because to an alien. Elliot’s counsel desire the government and trade as it was granted to Temple and Crowne by virtue of the King’s warrant. Reply : The King may grant by the law of nations what he is not in possession of, and empower to take possession. He that discovers and yields a country to the King of Scotland is therein equal with a native of his dominions. To give free trade to strangers would overthrow the Plantation, but if it be judged of public advantage to discourage and remove the present planters after so many years’ settlement, they desire that the 5,712l. which they paid to those before them for damages and purchases of the propriety may be first paid to them. Indorsed, “Report of the Committee of Council for Nova Scotia, 17 June 1661.” 2 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XV., No. 65.]

Copy of the preceding. Indorsed by Joseph Williamson, Nova Scotia, but without date. [Col. Papers, Vol. XV., No. 66.]

Another copy of the above signed R[ichard] B[lathwayt]. With a memorandum, That by an agreement between Sir Thos. Temple and Wm. Crowne, dated 12th September 1657, it is provided that Crowne shall possess all lands westward from the mouth of the River Dumache alias Machias for 100 leagues into the country, to Muscentus on the confines of New England, and into the sea 30 leagues with all islands, and particularly the Port of Pentagouet or Penobscot, and the sole trade with the natives. That Temple shall have the sole trade on the River Dumache for the 100 leagues mentioned, provided Crowne pay at the due terms five moose and five beaver skins, as part of the honorarium due to Cromwell and heirs, and the 20th part of all furs and fruits to Sir Charles. Signed Stephen La Tour. “Memorandum. The interest of Maj. Edward Gibbons.” Indorsed, The case of Elliot, La Tour, Crowne, and Temple, abt. Nova Scotia. 3 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XV., No. 67.]

“America and West Indies: June 1661.” Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 5, 1661-1668. Ed. W Noel Sainsbury. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1880. 35-42. British History Online. Web. 2 April 2020. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/colonial/america-west-indies/vol5/pp35-42.