Crown Draft Proclamation of 1761
to Colonial Governors

NOTE: The proclamation forbids governors of English colonies from giving land grants of lands that Indians have reserved to themselves by various English treaties. Those who are on Indian lands are supposed to move off. Before any license to purchase any land is granted, the local governors are supposed to check with the Crown and see if those lands may be sold or are reserved to the Indians.

This proclamation was drafted after the conclusion of the French wars (Articles of Capitulation were signed at Quebec in 1759), and is clearly an attempt to hold or gain the loyalty of Indians in case the French keep trying. Also, in 1761, Pontiac has begun to organize the fighting alliance of Eastern and "Old Northwest" tribes -- Ottawa, Wyandot, Potawatomi, Miami, Kickapoo, Wea, Peoria, Ojibwe, and Seneca. The 1759 Quebec Articles of French army's Capitulation pledged that the "Savages or Indian Allies of his Most Christian Majesty shall be maintained in the lands that they inhabit, if they choose to remain there they shall not be molesteed on any pretense whatsoever." The draft proclamation is an attempt by the English to hold on to Indian allies in the face of major attempts shaping up to throw off all the white men.

Draft of an Instruction for the Governors of Nova Scotia, New Hampshire, New York, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia forbidding them to Grant Lands or make Settlements which may interfere with the Indians bordering on those Colonies.

Whereas the peace and security of Our Colonies and Plantations upon the Continent of North America does greatly depend upon the Amity and Alliance of the several Nations or Tribes of Indians bordering upon the said Colonies and upon a just and faithful Observance of those Treaties and Compacts which have been heretofore solemnly entered into with the said Indians by Our Royall Predecessors Kings and Queens of this Realm;

And whereas notwithstanding the repeated Instructions which have been from time to time given by Our Royal Grandfather to the Governors of Our several Colonies upon this head the said Indians have made and do still continue to make great complaints that Settlements have been made and possession taken of lands, the property of which they have by Treaties reserved to themselves by persons claiming the said lands under pretence of deeds of Sale and Conveyance illegally, fraudulently and surreptitiously obtained of the said Indians;

And whereas it has likewise been represented unto Us that some of Our Governors or other Chief Officers of Our said Colonies of the Duty they owe to Us and of the Welfare and Security of our Colonies have countenanced such unjust claims and pretensions by passing Grants of the Lands so pretended to have been purchased of the Indians. We therefor taking this matter into Our Royal Consideration, as also the fatal Effects which would attend a discontent amongst the Indians in the present situation of affairs, and being determined upon all occasions to support and protect the said Indians in their just Rights and Possessions and to keep inviolable the Treaties and Compacts which have been entered into with them;

Do hereby strictly enjoyn & command that neither yourself nor any Lieutenant Governor, President of the Council or Commander in Chief of Our said Colony/Province of ______________ do upon any pretence whatever upon pain of Our highest Displeasure and of being forthwith removed from your or his office, pass any Grant or Grants to any persons whatever of any lands within or adjacent to the Territories possessed or occupied by the said Indians or the Property Possession of which has at any time been reserved to or claimed by them.

And it is Our further Will and Pleasure that you do publish a proclamation in Our Name strictly enjoining and requiring all persons whatever who may either willfully or inadvertently have seated themselves on any lands so reserved to or claimed by the said Indians without any lawfull Authority for so doing forthwith to remove therefrom And in case you shall find upon strict enquiry to be made for the purpose that any person or persons do claim to hold or possess any lands within Our said Colony/Province upon pretence of purchases made of the said Indians without a proper licence first had and obtained either from Us or any of Our Royal Predecessors or any person acting under Our or their Authority you are forthwith to cause a prosecution to be carried on against such person or persons who shall have made such fraudulent purchases to the end that the land may be recovered by due Course of Law.

And whereas the wholesome Laws that have at different times been passed in several of our said Colonies and the instructions which have been given by Our Royal Predecessors for restraining persons from purchasing lands of the Indians without a Licence for the purpose and for regulating the proceedings upon such purchases have not been duly observed, It is therefore Our express Will and Pleasure that when any application shall be made to you for licence to purchase lands of the Indians you do forebear to grant such Licence untill you shall have first transmitted to Us by Our Commissioners for Trade and Plantations the particulars of such applications as well as in respect to the situation as the extent of the lands so proposed to be purchased and shall have received Our further directions therein;

And it is Our further Will and Pleasure that you do forthwith cause this Our Instruction to you to be made Publick not only within all parts your said Colony/Province inhabited by Our Subjects, but also amongst the several Tribes of Indians living within the same to the end that Our Royal Will and Pleasure in the Premises may be known and that the Indians may be apprized of Our determin'd Resolution to support them in their just Rights, and inviolably to observe Our Engagements with them.

NOTE: This was transcribed by Abenaki Associates and is on Canada's SchoolNet with an incomplete miscelleny of Canadian and a few English treaties. Abenaki did not give the source, or whether any of the Colonial governors signed it, or what its status is in England.

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