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Title: Prospects for Obtaining Rich Furs From North America.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
Yearca. 1751
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationfur merchant
Sender Religionunknown
Recipient Genderunknown
SourceD.162/54: Presented by Major F. Dobbs, Castle Dobbs, Carrickfergus, Co.Antrim, Ireland, Per Mr A E Dobbs. #TYPE EMG Reasons For The Great Price & Scarcity of Beaver & Other Furs in England and Prospects of Obtaining These In North America. (Date c.1751)
ArchivePublic Record Office Northern Ireland
Doc. No.8911097
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
Log30:11:1989 GC created 02:05:1991 GC input 15:08:19
Word Count4520
TranscriptReasons for the great Price and
scarcity of Beaver and other Furs in England
That there is, or might be, as sufficient
quantity of Beaver and other Rich Furs got, and
purchasd [purchased?] in North America and be brought to
England for to answer the consumption at home, and
to making a large manufacture of hats for a
foreign Market, and supply our manufacturing
at Home at a reasonable price, if
the Legislature would [Interfere?] and [?]
our colonies and the countries claimed by
the H:B: [Hudson Bay?] Company and trade there upon proper regulations
and a proper management, may be almost
[freed?] to a d[?] [?]; I shall therefore
endeavour to show those countries in such a light
as may make it manifest, that there is, and
may be a fund in Beaver and other Rich
Furs, got from North America, to carry on
our manufacture to great advantage, and
that the Trade there, may be securd [secured?] to
Britain at a very small expense; and
that by our situation, we can afford to give
the natives better prices, and sell
them at home cheaper than the French, our
only kinds in that Trade, provided the govermnt [government?]
will be pleasd [pleased?] to interfere, and our [possessions?]
and Trade there be put under a proper
government and regulations.-
In order to show this, I must give a short
description of these countries where Beaver &c
abound, and consider its extent and the nature
and disposition of the Natives.-
All the countries in north America from the
[chirokees?] country south of ohio in Lat [Latitude?] 38,
to the Lat [latitude?] of 60, in all the unsettled parts
beyond our colonies from [S?] Carolina to
the North of Churchil [Churchill?] River in Hudsons Bay,
and Hudsons streights, are all countries
abounding in Be[avers?]; and great numbers of
other Rich Furs, may be had [even?] [beond?] the
P[olar?] Circle in 66:30; and from the east
of the Labrador coast to the western
ocean beyond H: [Hudson?] Bay; so that here is a country
of [near?] [6?]00 Leagues in Length [35 to 64?] from N: 500 L: to S:[?]
and 400 in Breadth from [60?] E: 120[?] to W: 740, wherein
at 13th a degree
Beaver abound, deducting only from [?] the returnd [returned?] Lakes and
Hudsons Bay: and the more northerly they go,
the Furs are [thicker?] and finer; and Tract of
near 200 000 square Leagues, and these countries
for want of cultivation and from the number of
marshes and rivers, abound with places where
Beaver can farm their Dams, so that it may be
said to be a country by nature fitter for Beaver,
and they are naturally so prolifick [prolific?], having from
6 to 9 or 10 at a litter, that by proper care the
numbers might be increased [increased?] according to the
d[emand?] price given for them.
for if a reasonable price in manufactures,
were allowd [allowed?] to the Natives, for such as were
taken in the proper season: and the natives
shown a more easy way of being maintaind [maintained?]
and nourishd [nourished?], by tame cattle & tillage, the
Beaver Ponds might be preservd [preserved?] & lockd [locked?] like
pigeon houses so as to increase rather than diminish
the number of Breeders, and none would then
be taken but in the proper season for sale,
to procure them better returns for their fur:
whereas at present the Natives [having?] small
incouragement [encouragement?] for the Furs, they destroy
them instead of increasing them (having no
property in them) at all sections for their nourishment
without regard to their Furs, so that
at present not a 3d each of the furs come
to market except those that are near
Canada and our colonies, which are not so
good and valuable as those farther northward
and at a distance from our settlements, so that
if the natives were incouragd [encouraged?] and instructed how
to increase the Beaver, and settled so as each
Tribe might have a proper district to hunt in
and preserve the Beaver, 5 times or
probably 10 times as many might come to
market as now do, and their being taken in
season might increase their value a third
above what they are at present, from hence
it is plain, if the Indian Tribes were kept at
peace with each other, and incouragd [encouraged?] our
Trade in furs would greatly increase and a sufficient
quantity might be got for our consumption & manufactures.
I shall next show how far we have, or might
have, the advantage of the French in the
Fur Trade, and how far we have it in our
Powern of gaining the friendship of the Natives
and securing the Bulk of the Indian Trade
from the French, if the countries were properly
settled and put under a proper governmt [government?]
to civilize and instruct the natives, and the Trade
was opend [opened?] and put under proper regulations.
The natives are a sagacious and sensible
people and know their own Benefit as well
as Europeans, and who earn behaviour with
most c[andour?] and friendship and will offerd [offered?]
them such goods as they want for the most
reasonable T[erms?] are sure to have the
preference of their friendship, and where
trade is open and free it is the interest of
all merchants to take a reasonable profit
for their goods and to give such a price
for foreign goods as they can afford, with sufficient
profit to carry on Trade, now tis [it is?]
plain that by the situation of our northern
colonies and the possessions we might have around Hudsons Bay, that
we might have great advantages
over the French in trading with the natives.
of which within these 20 or 30 years
we have had a notable instance from
new york, where Mr Bru[?] was made
governr [governor?] there in 1720 he found little
or no Trade directly from thence
with the Indians, but the English from
thence supplyd [supplied?] the French in Canada
with our coarse manufactures fit for
the Indian Trade upon much better terms
than they could be afforded from France
at Quebec by [sea?] [by?] [reason?] of the difficulty
of the navigation from France
and from thence again to the L[akes?] by
which means the French then [ingrattd?]
almost the whole indian trade [on?]
the la[kes?], He wisely framd [framed?] a [Law?]
to incourage [encourage?] the Indian Trade and to
[?] our [carrying?] our manufactures
fit for the Indian Trade to Canada to supply the Indians from
thence, and fixd [fixed?] a trading house at
[oswego?] [?] [colarakui?] or ontario
Lake among the Nations by which
means they supplyd [supplied?] the Indians at a
much cheaper rate than the French
could do from Canada, and his thereby
turnd [turned?] the currant [current?] of the Indian Trade
to the english, and g[ave?] such credit to
the six nations our Indian allies, thro [through?] which
country our Trade is carryd [carried?] on,
that the Bulk of the Indian Trade
upon the L[akes?] [?] now in new
york and all these nations have
enterd [entered?] into allyance [alliance?] with our Indians
and become friends to the english
to the great discouragement
of the French in Canada, if the same
incouragement [encouragement?] were given from our
Colonies between south carolina and new york
the whole Trade in the Lakes in
a few years would be gaind [gained?] to the
English and the Natives be assembled
in friendship with us by keeping
our Traders within Bounds and
using the Natives with candour and
friendship, for as S: Carolina has
securd [secured?] the friendship of the cherakees
chickesaws and by the assistance of
georgia, the creek Indians and [few?]
of the cha[ctanes?], we by [proper?] [?]utions
may [prevent?] the French Trade
from extending up the Mississippi towards
the La[kes?], now let us put the
[manner?] or conduct of our Trade with the Indians
from our colonies, where the Trade
is open and Free in Cantrell with
our Trade in Hudsons Bay where
it is made a monopoly by the [company?]
under p[rete?]nce of an exclusive right
to that Trade; notwithstanding the
furs there are much [choicer?] and finer
than to the southward, and would [abound?]
more under proper care and regulation
yet what a miserable appearance
do they make in Trade, not #[6000?]
worth of goods sent out from Britain
in a season to a country almost
as large as the 3d part of Europe, &
if you will believe the companies
[known?] to the committee of Parliament
the company and consequently yet
the indian dont gain above 10 or 12,000
# annually by that Trade, all owing
to their misconduct and monopoly to
gain much upon a small capital
in order to keep their profits, and those countries
and the [?]gation there a secret from Britain & in order
to secure this to themselves a pitiful Trade to Britain
tho [though?] considerable to the few concernd [concerned?]
in the company, they will neither settle the
countries themselves nor let any other
Britains, independent of them, settle
there, nor even give consent to any
to settle and in their grant nor allow their own, [servants?]
to go up into the country, either to settle
or Trade, or make friendship with the
natives, or keep them in peace with
each other, nor do they give the natives any
incouragement [encouragement?] to Trade with them, or
instruct them in any methods to improve
their Trade, or civilize or [convert?]
them; or suffer any mass of capacity or
learning to go [even?] in [?] [?] [service?] to instruct them or
discover these inland countries [earn?],
has th[ere?] been a clergy man [sent?] [?] to instruct their own
people since the forming of the company
[they?] being content to take what Furs
the natives bring to them to their [factories?]
selling the necessaries they must
have, to them, at a most monstrous
price, consequently giving them little
or nothing for their Furs, the natives
having no conveniency of bringing
many in their Birch c[auses?] [?], or an [?]
[in?] [winter?] yet by their monopoly and [misconduct?]
they have incourgad [encouraged?] the French
to gain the friendship of the natives
within land and to carry their -
goods from Canada many hundred [hundred?]
leagues even to the [Kuizzard?] [lakes?]
westward of our [factories?] on the
west and s: [south?] west of the Bay, and to
carry off the most valuable furs
from thence to Canada by a long
and tedious land carriage, and a very
bad navigation where they have any
water carriage, so that what we
have gaind [gained?] from the French by having a
free and open trade with the
natives upon the lakes, from our
colonies, is more than made up
to them, by the rich furs they get
from the natives about Hudsons
Bay by the in[jur?]ious monopoly of
the company - From the Breif [brief?]
account a way may be easily chalkd [chalked?]
out how to increase our Fur Trade
and secure the Bulk if not the
whole from the French, and secure
the greatest part of the Trade of
that northern continent.-
We have an undoubted right as
first discoverers of all the Labrador
coast from the streights of Bell[Is?]le
in newfoundland to Hudsons streights and Bay, and no
possession or claim has been made
to that Labrador coast tho [though?] a valuable
Fur Trade might be had there; it
is highly probable that from davys inlet
to Hudsons streights is the [?] made up of Islands
and a communication may be made
through that Inlet into Hudsons Bay by the
Inland sea lately discovered between it
and Hudsons Bay, by occupying that inlet
in 56, all the Trade of Furs from that
to Canada might be securd [secured?] to us and
by treating the natives kindly they might
be all made our friends [friends?] and Hunt and
fish for us, and if we do not secure
it, I am perswaded [persuaded?] that if the French
do not seize it soon, the danes will, they
have already made a settlement in davys
streight a very im[?]able [climate?]
in 64, and as they had an old claim
to greenland from discoveries from
Iceland, so they pretend the Labrador
coast was then discovered [discovered?] from thence,
under the name of Met[a?] [Incayruta?]
and as they want a settlement in a more moderate
climate than davys streight, I am apt
to think they will settle on that coast
soon, finding it unoccupyd [unoccupied?] by us, and
probably the east ships sent out are
designd [designed?] for that settlement; by which
they will gain a considerable fur-
trade, as well as a fishery of fish abound
on that coast as this is still open &
free from the company [it?] ought not to
be longer neglected lest we repent it
when too late.-
The next step to be taken to increase
our Fur Trade is to apply to Parliament
to open the Trade to H: [Hudsons?] Bay
[witheld?] [from?] the [march?] [well?] in Britain
by an illegal [unjust?] monopoly w[ith?]
by act of Parliamt [Parliament?]. and if the[y?] [?] can show
any right to the Lands they have
occupyd [occupied?] at or adjoyning [adjoining] to their [Factories?]
to ascertain by law how far
their claim goes and allow all other
parts about the Bay to be settled by
any of his majestys subjects and a
civil gowernmt [government?], should be [established?]
in all [places?] which shall be settled,
and civil governors and magistrates be
fixd [fixed?] by the crown: and such hands
as maybe confirmd [confirmed?] to the company
by Parliamt [Parliament?] as their right shall be established upon
the same [feeling?] of a civil government
to be appointed by his majesty the governmt [government?]
in Britain [returning?] only a moderate [just?] [?] to
the proprietors; of the company or if the company
should choose [ra?]ther to sell their
[Factories?] to the Publick [public?] and give
up the whole country to the crown
then a reasonable value may be given
to then by Parliament [Parliament?] for their [charter?]
and the whole [be?] given up to the
crown. That [formidably?] upon this
same settlers be sent over to the
[rivers?] already occupyd [occupied?] by the company
and proper [charters?] be chosen by
the crown to make discoveries of the
Inland countries and make friendship
with the natives and to induce them
to live in peace with each other
and to instruct them how to increase and
improve the Fur Trade and any other
Branches of trade proper for those
Climates, by thus laying open the Trade
to all the settlers and merchants and giving
our manufactures to the natives
at a reasonable value we should
be able to undersell the French and
secure the friendship of the natives
by [kind?] [usage?] and [full?] dealings and
[pull?] our trade to the southwestwe [southwestward?]
and southward towards Canada and
the Lakes and secure the Trade
of the whole continent and at the
same time [persuade?] [our?] d[iscovery?]
of the western [ocean?] by a [very?] [able?]
[passage?] or at the north by [cross?]ing over
the continent which cannot be of
any great extent in [?] to trade
from thence which might be easily done
by [?] in number as is practd [practiced?] in
Russia to their great benefit and at
small expense -
upon the companys [companies?] giving up
their [factories?] at [Maele?] Albany
Hays and Churchills River to the crown
for a reasonable consideration, The
King could then send over a person
qualifyd [qualified?] to be governor over all
the countries adjoyning [adjoining?] Hudsons Bay
who should carry over proper [persons?]
with him of [capacity?] and resolution
to [push?] on the discovery of the Inland
countries and Tribes of Indians to
learn their language and form alliances
with them by treating them humanely
as friends, they might by [degrees?]
[civilize?] them and instruct them in
the best manner of Hunting and
increasing the number of beavers and
only taking them when in season by showing
them, how to supply their families with
proper food without destroying the [game?]
for food when the Furs are out of season,
by the [increase?] of [tame?] cattell [cattle?]
& fowl as well as fish or [by?] [tillage?], - and by thus forming
regular civil societys [societies?] on the several
rivers the Traders might be kept
under proper restrictions not to def[raud?]
the natives but carry on an equitable
Trade so as to preserve and increase
a friendship and intercourse between
us and the natives around the Bay
Thus a free equitable trade with the natives, being
free to all the settlers and planters
the country would be settled and securd [secured?]
from the French and the Fur Trade
be recovered [recovered?], and the Furriers and
[Hatters?] would be well supplyd [supplied?] with a
sufficient quantity at a reasonable
price, and a great quantity of coarse
iron and woollen manufactures would
be expanded to purchase them to the
great advantage of Britain and
those countries be securd [secured?] by the
increase of our [settlements?] in case
of a future war, which at present
are in danger of being [lost?] [wherein?]
we have a future war with France
The company alledge [allege?] in their own
[justification?] that the climate is so
cold and [inhospitable?] that it cant be
settled and [impard?] to maintain [?]
or be fit for Tillage or keeping of cattle
and alledge [allege?] it to be [impracticable?] to
navigate in Trade up the river in the
Inland country.-
But any intelligent [person?] upon the
[best] reflection may [plainly?] see that
what they alledge [allege?] is not consistent
with Truth. [Facts?] or the nature of
things but only an [attempt?] to impose
upon our understanding in order to
excuse their [negligence] & this conduct,
in not settling these countries and
improving this trade which might
be made very valuable to Britain
can it be supposd [supposed?] that countries from
51 to 60 degrees in a [less?] wooded country
far distant from mountains is
not as habitable as lands in the same
latitude in Europe and [Asia?]. yet
we find that siberia much more northerly
is become a valuable country to
Russia and of late is greatly improved
and able to support its inhabitants
comfertibly [comfortably?] do we not see the
Danes settled in davys streights as
far north as 64 without any such
complaint, do we not find that the
French rangers have futhd [furthered?] beyond
Hudsons Bay from canada and support
themselves there and carry on an
advantageous Trade upon our [ruins?]
above our [factories?], and is it [practicable?]
and beneficial to them but not
to the H: [Hudson?] Bay company, or can a
French man live comfortably there
when an englishman cannot
is it not practicable to [rear?] and [keep?]
Tame cattle such as horses cows [swine?]
goats and sheep in those [cows?] [?] where
deer and Buffalos live and [?]
without any care or assistance
so that instead of giving credit to
the allegations of the company in
excuse for their own misconduct
we ought to be ashamd [ashamed?] of being so
long imposd [imposed] upon and hard workd [worked?] by
them to the great loss of Britain
and incouragement [encouragement?] of our only [rivals?]
in Trade so that unless we resolve
to be in[fatu?]ated and [lamely?] give up
that [valuable?] trade to the French there
is an absolute necessity of opening
the Trade and dissolving or [purchasing?]
and the company if they have any
legal right to the adjacent lands
what [pains?] do the French take
to civilize c[onvert?] and make a
friendship [friendship?] with the Indian Tribes
and what [thorns?] they prove to our
colonies when thus debauchd [debauched?] in their
pr[?] under pretence of religion
which they make a Handle of to
promote Murders and degredations [degradations?]
upon our colonies of which [now?]
[?] at present is a [flaming?] [?]
and therefore we ought to study to
[present?] the French in all their [?]
to distress and ruin us, which can
only be done by gaining the Indians
and prevent their being further debauchd [debauched?]
by the French; our Free
and equitable governmt [government?] has greatly
the advantage of gaining the Indians
if we make [use?] of the [power?] and
means as christians and free prostestants
of gaining civilizing and converting
them and securing their properties
as well as our own by doing them [justice?]
in trade and [protecting?] them in their
property and possessions, so that if we
behave right we cant fail of securing
them all from the French, and a
spirit of Trade would soon [rouse?] them
from their indolence to become industrious
and to supply their wants when they could
peacably [peaceably?] enjoy their property under
our protection
[I] [think?] it [un?]necessary to Inlarge [enlarge?] any
further upon a subject which is as
obvious as the sun at noon day
and therefore apprehend that upon [proper?]
petitions from the merchants [Hatters?]
Furriers and other manufacturers
in Iron and coarse woollens that
Parliament will at once
see the reasonableness and I may say
necessity of opening the trade and
settling the countries around H: [Hudson?] Bay
and securing. The Labrador coast that
we may [?] have such [insufferable?] [injurious?] [?]
[?] or we find the French are
at Chig[?] St Johns and Halifax in [perusing?] [?] [?]
[cautioned?] by our negligence in not securing
those places in time; which
ought to be a [caution?] to us to
prevent such a [pernicious?] [neighbourhood?]
[for?] [the?] [future?] [securing?] by our [?] I hope
before they are eaten upon [and?] [?] by others
who make an advantage of our negligence
But to some of the whole by
making some usefull [useful?] reflections
The countries around Hudsons
Bay and streight have a sea
coast of above 2000 miles
extent from 51.30[c?] to 65[c?] N:L:
great part of which is in the
same Latitude with Britain
upon which coast are many
large navigable rivers which
have their sources some hundred
miles to the southward south eastward and
southwestward of that sea coast by which some
of them maybe navigated to
45[c?] n: this many large navigable
lakes surrounded by
many p[?] tribes and Natives
who [live?] in countries abounding
in furs of Beaver [?]
foxes and others of great [variety?] &
price with [?] herds of deer
Buffaloes elks moose and other
Beasts whose skins are valuable
in rich fine countries and [?]
climates where all herds
of [?] might be raised and
stock of [tame?] cattle [propagated?]
and the sea [coasts?] abounding
with black and white whales
seals sea [horses?] and other fish
[?] [?] and fish might be
had from the natives in great
quantity and very reasonable
by supplying them with proper
tackling harpoons &c Here are
also valuable mines and minerals
already known but never wrought
and a continent to be dis[?]
of great extent to the south
westward which abounds with
other valuable commodities -
These great and extensive
countries have been [navigated?]
and lockd [locked?] up by the [charter?]
of the Hudsons Bay Company
these 80 years, the countries
kept conceald [concealed?] and the Trade to
countries equal to 1/4th part of
Europe confind [confined?] to a small capital and
an annual export [and?] [?]
All the [factories?] they have
are 4 and [two?] other small [?]
in which are about 150 europeans
fixd [fixed?] at the [mouths?] of [rivers?] on
a frozen sea, which the country
within l[ured?] are in pleasent
temperate climates, all the Trade
they have [or?] seem to desire is
[what?] Furs the natives can carry
down in small Birch C[arriers?]
which can [scarce?] [carry?] 2 men [with?]
a small [parcel?] of Furs, for which
they give the natives [little?] [or?] [nothing?]
by fixing the British goods at
an unreasonsble standard, so that
they can only bring down a few
Furs to furnish them with what
they think absolutely necessary to them
with a few [days?] if no [weight], and
the rest of their [pelts?] and [furs?] are
destroyd [destroyed?] or [?]ot at home having
no acnt [account?] for them; they in all
this time have neither instructed
the Natives to nagivate the [rivers?]
with [better?] Boats or to [?] in
their Hunting and [propagating?] cattle
to draw their hides in winter as
in [?], nor have they ever
attemped or incouragd [encouraged?] their own
servants to navigate up the river
and carry their goods to supply the
natives at Home at more reasonable
rates, nor have allowd [allowed?] any
British sujbects or merchants to
settle and Trade in the country
and make settlements as in other
proprietarry [proprietary?] colonies, [nay?] so far
have they [paid?] enemies to Britain
in concealing the countries and
confining the Trade, that they
endeavour all they can to conceal
from Britain, that the [French?]
are settling those countries and
extending their Trade to the
westward of their settlements upon
the River and Lakes above their
several [Factories?], and tho [though?] they
carry on that Trade at an extraordinary
expense by many hundred
[?] land [coverage?] upon their
B[?] from River to [river?] till
they get above their [factories?]
yet by the companys extravagant
prices, they enable the French
to undersell them and carry
away the most valuable and lightest
of their Furs such as [Marlins?]
foxes &c - and then do their
utmost to give the French a
claim to those countries by giving
them an undisturbed possession
which they will soon make use of
and pretend a right contrary to
the Faith of treaties as they have
done at [St Croix?] [?] [?] and
ch[anecto?] in nova scotia.-
Are these countries and [seas?] to
be perpetually lockd [locked?] up by a [charter?]
and monopoly not warranted by
act of Parliamt [Parliament?] which the Parliament
refusd [refused?] to confirm for more
than 7 years, is the company to
sleep like the dog in the manger
and neither do good for themselves
nor allow the British merchants
to Trade and settle there, are we
to be continually hoodwinked [hoodwinked?] in
Britain and have no liberty to
extend and improve so beneficial
a Trade, whilst our rivals
are extending amd improving
their colonies and commerce thro [through?]
all europe are we to continue
to neglect these countries and keep
them in a weak defenceless state
whilst the French are improving
and extending their colonies and
[?] and gaining all the Indians
against us in order to take
the whole country and Trade from
us upon the next warr [war?].-
These are melancholy reflections
but necessary to [?] us before
it is too late which may easily
be prevented by opening that Trade
and settling those countries which
will make them a strong Barrier
against Canada and secure the
friendship of the natives by a show
of friendship and giving them an
equitable Trade.
if those seasonable remarks
should procure so great a g[ain?]
to my native country it would
be the height of my ambition &
without view I submit them
to the publick [public?] hoping our eyes
will be opend [opened?] before it be too late.-