Charter of Acadia Granted by Henry IV of France to Pierre du Gast, Sieur de Monts; December 18, 1603

Henry, by the grace of God, King of France and of Navarre:

To our well-beloved and faithful advisors the officers of our Admiralty of hlormandie, Bretagne, Picardie, and Guienne, and to each one of them in their own right, and in the extent of their powers and jurisdictions, Greetings. We have, for many important reasons, ordered, commissioned, and established the Lord of Monts, gentleman ordinary of our chamber, our lieutenant-general, to people and inhabit the lands, shores, and countries of Acadia, and other surrounding areas, stretching from the fortieth parallel to the forty-sixth, and there to establish our authority, and otherwise to there settle and maintain himself in such a way that our subjects will henceforth be able to be received, to frequent, to dwell there, and to trade with the savage inhabitants of the said places as we have most expressly declared in our letters patents sent and delivered for this effect to the said Lord of Monts the eighth day of last November, following the conditions and articles, in consideration of which he is charged with the conduct and execution of this undertaking. To facilitate which and to those who are therein joined with him, and to give them some means and facility to support its expenses we have been pleased to promise and assure them that it will be permitted to no other of our subjects, except to those who enter into association with him, to make the said expenditures to trade in pelts and other merchandises during ten years in the lands, countries, ports, rivers, and routes in the expanse of his jurisdiction, which we wish to take place. We, for these reasons and other contributing considerations, command and order you that you act, each of you, in the extent of your powers, jurisdictions, and boundaries in our behalf, since from our full power and royal authority we very expressly prohibit and forbid all merchants, masters, and captains of ships, sailors and others of our subjects of whatever state, quality, and condition they may be, all others, nevertheless, and apart from those who have entered into association with the said Lord of Monts for the said undertaking, according to the articles of these by us decreed as it is stated, to equip any ships and in them to go or to send for the purpose of trading or bartering in skins, and other things with the savages, to frequent, to negotiate, and to communicate during the said time of ten years, from the cape of Rane as far as the fortieth parallel, including the entire coast of Accadia, the land, and Cape Breton, the bay of Saint Cler, of Chaleur, the included islands, Gaspay, Chichedec, Mesamichi, Lesquemin, Tadoussac, and the river of Canada, one bank as well as the other, and all the bays and rivers which enter the interior of the said coasts, under pain of disobedience and the complete confiscation of the vessels, men, arms, and merchandise to the profit of the said Lord of Monts and of his associates, and of thirty thousand pounds fine. For the assurance and acquittal of which, and for the coercion and punishment of their disobedience, you will be permitted, as we have also permitted and do permit the said Lord of Monts and his associates, to seize, apprehend, and arrest all those who go against our present prohibition and command as well as their vessels, merchandise, arms, and provisions, to take and remit them into the hands of justice, and to be prosecuted, both against the persons as well as against the goods of the said disobedient ones in the manner that it applies; which we desire and which we order and command you to have immediately published and read in all the public places of your powers and jurisdictions or where you will judge the need to be so that none of our said subjects may claim cause of ignorance, so that each one may obey and conform to this our will to do which we have given and do give you power, commission, and special command, since such is our pleasure. Given in Paris the eighteenth day of December in the year of grace one thousand six hundred and three, and of our reign the fifteenth, thus signed Henry. And lower, by the King, Potier. And sealed with the great seal of yellow wax.

The Federal and State Constitutions Colonial Charters, and Other Organic Laws of the States, Territories, and Colonies Now or Heretofore Forming the United States of America
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