"All the inhabitants of the parish of our Lady of Kaskaskia assembled, had the honor presenting you, verbally, their very humble requests, which we this day commit to writing, so that they may have a decisive reply touching the following articles:
"First. It is nearly eight years since Mr. Boisbriant caused to be drawn the lines of the grand square of the prairie, which they now cultivate, and caused to be designated to each inhabitant his respective land. He then established a common for cattle, which completes the boundary of the land ceded since that time. The instruments of concession have not been delivered to them by the superior council of Louisiana. They have asked for them several times, without being able to obtain them. They entreat you that the schedule which accompanies this, of the lands ceded in the said prairie, may be sent to the council in France, because it is now necessary that they should have an assurance of the possession of the lands which have been granted to them. The Reverend Father Beaubois lost in his shipwreck the contracts of the inhabitants.
"Second. When the common for cattle was marked p287 out, several of the inhabitants who then had separate strips of land cultivated in the said common, asked whether they might not continue to cultivate the said parcels; they were answered that if they wished to enjoy any in the said common, they would be obliged to inclose them, or run the risk of having them ravaged by the cattle which might be set at liberty to live in the common.
"Third. The first years the inhabitants paid any attention to the culture of the lands in the said prairie, every inhabitant had his cattle watched in the commons, by which means his crops were saved. The lands composing the commons were cultivated as elsewhere, but the number of cattle increased so greatly that it was impossible for the inhabitants to save their crops. The inundation of the waters last year destroyed a great part of their crops, and notwithstanding the efforts which were made to repair that loss by planting corn after the receding of the waters, they had the misfortune, in spite of all their attention, of being unable to prevent their cattle from ravaging it day and night, and upon that all the inhabitants assembled, and all became convinced of the necessity of inclosing with pickets the front of their ceded lands, by following the lines of the gated square, and the lines which bound these lands and form the common.
"This they are thereto obligated and are on the eve of executing it.
"More than eighteen thousand pickets are already cut p288 and which have been for three months ready to be hauled.
"This is a certain proof of their anxiety to save their crops, besides, it will be in that case no longer necessary to watch the cattle which may be set free into the common.
"All those who had strips of cultivated or ceded land, in the said common, have, every one of them, voluntarily given them up for the public good, and to preserve their principal lands. There are now found only the heirs of the deceased L'ami and Mr. Antoine Carriere, who obtained of Mr. Boisbriant, after he had allotted the lands to each, to them as well as to the others, permission to enjoy in the common about thirty arpents, which they then had there, and, besides those thirty arpents, Mr. Boisbriant granted them thirty arpents more in the said common, and for the tenure of which land he gave them a contract.
"Until now they had cultivated them as many others did who held some in like manner, and which were cultivated at the same risks, and upon the same conditions as were required by Mr. Boisbriant. But now, since all these inhabitants have willingly abandoned these strips of land in the common to secure the principal ones, we find it strange, and with reason, that these two inhabitants should be opposed to the public good.
The inhabitants do not ask that the heirs of the deceased L'ami and Carriere should abandon their lands in the common, because they have special concession for p289 these lands, therefore, it is just they should enjoy them; but if they wish to enjoy them, let them inclose them pursuant to Mr. Boisbriant's requisition, which ought to have more weight at present than ever, since to secure the ceded lands, they find themselves obliged and forced by the public interest to undergo a very great labor, which is making the fence of the whole front of the lands.
"Fourth. The same inhabitants have the honor of representing to you that sometime after Mr. Boisbriant's arrival in this country, he verbally granted them as the common, the other side of the little river upon which they have their village, beginning at the shoal above the Indian village to the mouth of the said river, that to be as common for their cattle, horses and swine, for which each had the liberty of crossing thither his cattle during seed time, and gave to the public the liberty to procure and draw therefrom millstones, stone to build with and make lime thereof, and timber suitable for the building which they were on the eve of going at.
"Mr. Boisbriant readily granted them that request, and refused Jaques Bourdon four arpents which he asked on that side. They pray you, gentlemen, also, to expedite the concession for this under the grant of common, as they had not the precaution to require it then in writing.
"There are three inhabitants, who, under the pretext of erecting a water-mill on that side, upon the rivulet, when the company had before them projected the plan, asksº the •half of a league near that rivulet. We shall be rejoiced p290 if they could succeed in an undertaking so useful to the public, but it does not appear necessary nor just that they should have an allotment of half a league, when five or six arpents around the mill would suffice to put it in operation, and render the right thereto good.
"Inasmuch as that concession would greatly incommode those of the inhabitants who procure from that place, stone and millstones (it being the nearest and most convenient to their village), it would, at the same time, deprive their cattle of an essential part of pasture.
"Mr. Boisbriant having perceived that the islands which are in the Mississippi, opposite to the prairie which are on this side, afforded an excellent pasture for horses in the seasons when they were not of much use for work, even of his own accord, granted to the same inhabitants, as part of the common, the islands in the Mississippi from the mouth of the little river up to the large island which is above the ferry, and to enjoy them without being always disquieted by those who endeavor secretly to get whatever is set apart for the convenience and accommodation of the public.
"The said inhabitants, gentlemen, wish you to have included in the instrument of concession for common, these islands, as they are of no use but to supply subsistence for cattle, and preventing them from being lost and becoming wild; also the point of land of their prairie, which runs from the village to the mouth of the little river, which being full of ponds, and covered with wood will serve as a pasture for cattle, as it has done until the p291 present time, and it will be found very useful in consequence of the fence which we are going to make, and which we are going to extend as far as we can toward that point, and by that means we shall deprive the cattle that run there of every means and way of getting into the cultivated lands.
"We would not, gentlemen, press you so urgently to require for us the concessions for these different lands, if we did not find, every day, opposition to contracts already made, and which we have peacefully enjoyed hitherto without deeming it necessary to require at all a concession in writing.
"The inhabitants expect and hope, gentlemen, that you will favourably consider their requests, which bear sufficient testimony of their zeal for the establishment of this country, and of the desire they have to render it firm. On the one hand, nothing would have so strong a tendency in disheartening them from the labor of such an undertaking as their continuing to meet with disappointment, so, on the other hand, nothing would be so great a stimulus to work, as being possessed of their lands and lots and commons, which they request through you, this day, and they expect from your goodness, attention and diligence, an immediate and decisive answer."
"They pray you, gentlemen, to send this, their petition to the council, and to the company in France, and they hope, from your personal knowledge of the condition of things here, by your being at the place, that you will support their pretensions with all your might."
p292 "They have the honor of being with profound respect, gentlemen, your very humble and obedient servants, the Inhabitants of Kaskaskia."
"After having examined the petition above, presented by the inhabitants of Kaskaskia, we have deemed proper to make thereon the following observations:
"Article First. — A copy of the book of the registry has been sent to the Superior Council, and to the gentlemen of the company in France, consequently the inhabitants should not calculate that their representations will be unavailing.
"Article Second. — As to the second article, the exposition of the inhabitants is true, and they have all given their consent to that which Mr. Boisbriant required.
"Article Third. — The exposition of the inhabitants is very just, and the fence which they promise themselves with making is exceedingly necessary for the preservation of their crops, and for the firm establishment of this post.
"Article Fourth. — The lands of which the inhabitants speak are very necessary for common, and for the advantage p293 of the whole country; so also is the water-mill for their convenience; therefore, the Superior Council will decide on the necessary extent of ground around the mill.
"The point of woods which runs from the village down the river is ceded to those who have lands on the small line.
"We pray you, gentlemen of the council, be pleased to bestow due attention to the requests of the inhabitants of Kaskaskia, and, even in sending them to France, if you deem it proper, and inform us of their intentions in regard to Fort Chartre.
"February 9, 1727.
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