Royal Proclamation on western territories (1763)


In October 1763 King George III, acting on the advice of his ministers, issued a royal proclamation on the western territories acquired after the French and Indian War. It sought to limit land claims and settlement of these new territories, partly to avoid conflict with Native American tribes there.


“It is just and reasonable, and essential to our Interest and the security of our colonies, that the several nations or tribes of Indians with whom we are connected and who live under our protection, should not be molested or disturbed in the … parts of our dominions and territories… reserved to them. or any of them, as their hunting Grounds…

We do therefore, with the advice of our Privy Council, declare it to be our royal will and pleasure that no governor or commander in chief in any of our colonies of Quebec, East Florida or West Florida, do presume, upon any pretence whatever, to grant warrants of survey, or pass any patents for lands beyond the bounds of their respective governments… also that no governor or commander in chief in any of our other colonies or plantations in America do presume… to grant warrants of survey…

And we do further declare it to be our royal will and pleasure, for the present as aforesaid, to reserve under our sovereignty, protection and dominion, for the use of the said Indians, all the lands and territories not included within the limits of our said three new Governments, or within the limits of the Territory granted to the Hudson’s Bay Company, and also all the lands and territories lying to the westward of the sources of the rivers which fall into the sea from the west and north west as aforesaid.

And we do hereby strictly forbid, on pain of our displeasure, all our loving subjects from making any purchases or settlements whatever, or taking possession of any of the lands above reserved, without our especial leave and licence for that purpose first obtained.

And we do further strictly enjoin and require all persons whatever who have either wilfully or inadvertently seated themselves upon any Lands within the countries above described, or upon any other lands which, not having been ceded to or purchased by us, are still reserved to the said Indians as aforesaid, forthwith to remove themselves from such settlements.

And whereas great frauds and abuses have been committed in purchasing lands of the Indians, to the great prejudice of our interests. and to the great dissatisfaction of the said Indians… In order to prevent such irregularities for the future, and to the end that the Indians may be convinced of our justice and determined resolution to remove all reasonable cause of discontent, we do, with the advice of our Privy Council, strictly enjoin and require that no private person do presume to make any purchase from the said Indians of any lands reserved to the said Indians, within those parts of our colonies where we have thought proper to allow Settlement: but that if at any time any of the said Indians should be inclined to dispose of the said lands, the same shall be purchased only for us, in our name, at some public meeting or assembly of the said Indians, to be held for that purpose by the governor or commander in chief of our colony respectively…”

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