Insights from editions of The Annual Register regarding later variants of the Royal Proclamation of 1763: An application of Levenshtein’s edit distance metric

Charles D. Bernholz, Love Memorial Library, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68588[*]

Brian T. O’Grady, Love Memorial Library, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68588[**]

 

Abstract

Variants of King George III’s Royal Proclamation of 1763, found in ten editions of the sixth volume of The Annual Register for that year, were examined through the application of Levenshtein’s edit distance metric to identify textual discrepancies across these renditions. Induced textual errors were carried into later editions of the 1763 Annual Register. The presence of distinct faults in Proclamation texts taken from other independent publications indicated that the latter must have used deviant Register versions as their sources.

 

As one of King George III’s many official statements during his reign between the years 1760 and 1820 (Crawford, 1967, pp. 97-274), the Royal Proclamation of 1763 was a significant international document. The contents of this roughly 2,400-word pronouncement — under the title “For colonizing North America, and populating the recently acquired Colonies of Quebec, East Florida, West Florida, and Granada, and preventing the spoliation of the Indians” (p. 105) — have been discussed endlessly and debated before the courts since its delivery.[1] Importantly, it served as the basis for an imperial declaration of the geographical parameters of “Indian country” in North America (By the King, a Proclamation, 1763; henceforth Broadside). The activities proposed, and then implemented, by the British to support the physical separation of the tribes from the colonists, combined with the debilitating costs accumulated while waging the French and Indian War on this continent, ultimately stimulated the onset of the American Revolution.[2]

As a critical document in the history of North America, the Proclamation has reliably been included in pertinent collections ever since its release, and the consideration of its provisions has led, in part, to a better understanding of the historical and administrative outcomes formally described in the Definitive treaty of peace between France, Great Britain, and Spain, signed at Paris, 10 February 1763 (Parry, 1969a, pp. 279-345) that concluded this international clash.[3] As one consequence of that accord, Britain acquired in the western hemisphere Canada, Grenada, and the two Floridas. The appropriate future supervision of these entities was initially defined by the text found in the Proclamation, a document that Clarence Walworth Alvord called “one of the important state papers of the 18th century" (1908, p. 20). Two decades later, at the termination of the American Revolution, the Definitive treaty of peace between Great Britain and the United States, signed at Paris, 3 September 1783 (Parry, 1969b, pp. 489-498) would discuss in similar terms the disintegration of a British presence in the lower half of North America.

In Canada, more so than in the United States, the Royal Proclamation served as a critical document in that nation’s creation and it has had a more enduring presence. The 1982 entrenchment of the Proclamation in § 25 of Part I of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms declared that “[t]he guarantee in this Charter of certain rights and freedoms shall not be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from any aboriginal, treaty or other rights or freedoms that pertain to the aboriginal peoples of Canada including (a) any rights or freedoms that have been recognized by the Royal Proclamation of October 7, 1763; and (b) any rights or freedoms that now exist by way of land claims agreements or may be so acquired” (Consolidation of Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982, p. 53; emphasis added).[4] Slattery’s analysis (1979) encompasses many of the questions associated with the applicability of the Proclamation to Canadian law, several of which have remained unresolved after the Constitution Act of 1982.

The Proclamation had other effects as well. As one example, Mowat (1943, pp. 58-59) identified the efforts placed on populating these new colonies because of the King’s order. He stated that “[a]ltogether, the Privy Council issued, in 1764 and the following six years, two hundred and twenty-seven Orders in Council for lands in East Florida, embracing nearly three million acres.” An accompanying table indicated 2,856,000 such acres, and listed the number of Orders for the same period as 82 for Nova Scotia; 65 for New York; 11 for Quebec; and 41 for West Florida, for 2,108,000 additional acres.[5]

Upon Independence, the instrument was a model for governmental activities commenced by the new United States. Broadside had announced in 1763 the distribution of bounty lands to British military personnel: And whereas, we are desirous, upon all occasions, to testify our royal sense and approbation of the conduct and bravery of the officers and soldiers of our armies, and to reward the same, we do hereby command and impower our governors of our said three new colonies, and all other our governors of our several provinces on the continent of North America, to grant without fee or reward, to such reduced officers as have served in North America during the late war, and to such private soldiers as have been or shall be disbanded in America, and are actually residing there, and shall personally apply for the same, the following quantities of lands, subject, at the expiration of ten years, to the same quit-rents as other lands are subject to in the province within which they are granted, as also subject to the same conditions of cultivation and improvement…. Such modes of reward were recalled by Congress and new applications of these proposals appear in Chapter II of Resolutions, Laws, and Ordinances, Relating to the Pay, Half Pay, Commutation of Half Pay, Bounty Lands, and Other Promises Made By Congress to the Officers and Soldiers of the Revolution; To the Settlement of the Accounts Between the United States and the Several States; and to Funding the Revolutionary Debt (1838, pp. 20-25). After enumerating the allowable parcels of land in a resolution on 16 September 1776, a follow-up declaration was made “[t]hat the bounty and grants of land offered by Congress, by a resolution of the 16th instant, as an encouragement to the officers and soldiers to engage in the army of the United States during the war, shall extend to all who are or shall be enlisted for that term.” In 1880, senior officers were included in this array of combatants, with a stipulation of 1,100 and 850 acres for major and brigadier generals, respectively. Shortly thereafter, medial personnel received such grants. In many respects, these land-for-service transactions were made by the federal government for the same reasons that the British government had made theirs in 1763: the war costs had been extensive and there were no funds available to pay the military.

Finally, it is critical to consider the fact that the Proclamation was brought before the Judicial Committee of Britain’s Privy Council to adjudicate issues that had been raised because of its enactment. Three specific inquiries may illustrate the evolution of Canada in the process.

  • In the first instance, the King had determined to make Labrador part of the colony of Newfoundland — And to the end that the open and free fishery of our subjects may be extended to and carried on upon the coast of Labrador, and the adjacent islands. We have thought fit, with the advice of our said Privy Council to put all that coast, from the river St. John’s to Hudson’s Streights, together with the islands of Anticosti and Madelaine, and all other smaller islands lying upon the said coast, under the care and Inspection of our Governor of Newfoundland (By the King, a Proclamation, 1763) — but there was disagreement between the Dominion of Canada and Newfoundland as to whether that meant allocating land to Newfoundland solely along all that coast or that the line of demarcation was situated further inland, along the high lands which divide the rivers that empty themselves into the said river St. Lawrence from those which fall into the sea.[6] Thus, the instructions found within the Proclamation were unclear and proceedings were brought to determine that border. In Re Labrador Boundary (1927), the Committee considered the question “What is the location and definition of the Boundary as between Canada and Newfoundland in the Labrador Peninsula, under the Statutes, Orders in Council and Proclamations?” submitted jointly by Canada and Newfoundland; Newfoundland only entered the Canadian Confederation in 1949.[7] The Committee found in favor of Newfoundland, declared that the highlands route was the correct boundary consideration, and awarded the colony with its current Labrador holdings, but the judicial conclusion was later criticized as “a physiographic absurdity, wandering in an unpredictable manner across a heavily glaciated, lake-strewn terrain. In many places its position is only vaguely known” (Hare, 1952, p. 405).[8]
  • The second controversy arose over the annexation in 1820 of Cape Breton Island by Nova Scotia, in a petition “which raised the question of the power of the Crown to sever and unite colonies enjoying constitutions previously granted by the Crown” (Wallis, 1894, p. 283). Immediately following the fisheries statement in the Proclamation, King George III had initially announced that We have also, with the advice of our Privy Council, thought fit to annex the islands of St. John’s and Cape Breton, or Isle Royale, with the lesser islands adjacent thereto, to our government of Nova Scotia, and that so soon as the state and circumstances of the said colonies will admit thereof, they [the Governors of such colonies] shall, with the advice and consent of the members of our council, summon and call general assemblies within the said governments respectively, in such manner and form as is used and directed in those colonies and provinces in America which are under our immediate government: And we have also given power to the said governors, with the consent of our said councils, and the representatives of the people so to be summoned as aforesaid, to make, constitute, and ordain laws, statutes, and ordinances for the publick peace, welfare, and good government of our said colonies (By the King, a Proclamation, 1763). Later, in 1784, the colony was broken into three pieces, creating Cape Breton as a separate entity under its own constitution. The reconstruction of Nova Scotia in 1820 to include Cape Breton presented legislative difficulties, in terms of those required locally elected assemblies, the abrogation of Cape Breton’s constitution, and the island’s lost independence. While no judgment was delivered, the findings in Re Cape Breton from 1846 before the Judicial Committee (1847, p. 275) were conveyed to Her Majesty, Queen Victoria — the granddaughter of King George III — with the recommendation that the inhabitants of Cape Breton were not entitled to their own constitution under the contents of the Letters Patent of 1784 that had formed an independent Cape Breton.[9]
  • The last dispute to note concerned aboriginal title in St. Catherine’s Milling & Lumber Co. v. The Queen (1888) that has served since its decision as the foundation of the understanding of aboriginal law in Canada. The Proclamation had announced in 1763 that lands were to be set aside for the Indians: And whereas 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 possession of such parts of our dominions and territories as, not having been ceded to or purchased by us, are reserved to them, or any of them, as their hunting grounds, and 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 publick meeting or assembly of the said Indians (By the King, a Proclamation, 1763). The Judicial Committee was asked to consider the jurisdictions of the provincial government of Ontario and the federal government of Canada, as reflected in permits to allow the cutting of timber. During argument, several pivotal cases from the United States Supreme Court were cited to illustrate that the Proclamation was still in force, and that the latter “was regarded by the Indians as their charter” (p. 48). The Committee established that “by force of the proclamation the tenure of the Indians was a personal and usufructuary right dependent upon the goodwill of the Crown” (p. 46). In the years following this decision, the concept of tribal usufructuary rights was a critical component in resource claims issues within Canada. Clark (1987) considered Indian title in Canada and proposed that such title endures, based upon the acknowledged parameters of the Proclamation: “The trust obligation is binding. The Indian interest is enforceable. It has to be purchased or duly expropriated to stop existing” (p. 114). In addition, Newhouse (2000) has a relevant discussion of this topic for relationships within the United States.

Thus, such disputes, based upon the appropriate interpretations of the intent, the contents, and the scope of a royal prerogative, have continued since the issuance of the Proclamation. It was a significant document in the eighteenth century and remains so today, especially with regard to aboriginal matters.

Variants of the Royal Proclamation of 1763

In a broader, unpublished examination of the various published renditions of the Royal Proclamation of 1763, it became apparent that the exemplar that was issued in The Annual Register for that year served as the source for a number of later replications. The textual variation observed in some of those subsequent examples of this critical document in the history of North America instigated a reexamination of the family of model documents found in succeeding editions of the 1763 Register. Indeed, Todd (1961) identified as many as eleven impressions of volume 6 of this Register during the interval between its inception in May 1764 and a final edition from 1810 (p. 114).[10] These included two examples of the first edition published in 1764 (henceforth, “1a” and “1b” as per Todd’s notation), and two volumes for each of the sixth (1790 and 1810) and the seventh editions (1796 and 1810). However, in a latter collation of the writings of Edmund Burke that conducted a careful effort to identify the editions created for The Annual Register in the years 1759 through 1766, Todd’s count for volume 6 editions was diminished through the elimination of the second appearance of a seventh edition (1964, pp. 56-58). Nevertheless, such an array of single volume republications presented the opportunity to investigate in later forms the induction of errors into the original text of the Proclamation. Subsequent copying of this international instrument, from such a respected resource as The Annual Register, thus created many more occasions during which further textual errors could have occurred. Todd himself warned that “[w]ithin this period [i.e., 1759-1766] the volumes display, apart from partial resettings and reimpressions, various irregularities both in the earlier editions… and in the later issues…” (1964, p. 44). This publishing environment instigated variations in subsequent independent publications of the text of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 that may be traced back to these inconsistent Register sources.

Previous tests comparing three earlier versions of the Proclamation text with the initial variant delivered by the “1a” form of the first edition of The Annual Register demonstrated that the latter (denoted here as Register1A)[11] was probably derived originally from the October 1763 issue of The Gentleman’s Magazine (1763; Gentleman’s), and that it did not originate through either the document publicly read and posted in that month (By the King, a Proclamation, 1763; Broadside), or the official government publication of the statement through The London Gazette (1763; London).[12] In fact, the observed instrument flow — based on quantifying errors detected between paired contrasts of these renditions — indicated that Register1A was reproduced apparently from the text found in Gentleman’s, which itself had replicated the London wording. London — as the official newspaper publication of the royal prerogative — was most likely derived directly from one of the initial copies of Broadside.[13]

Further, Robert Dodsley, as publisher, had created The Annual Register as “a one-volume compilation of all that was most important and best — in other words, most worthy of being granted permanence — of the year” and in which he “brought the appeal of the relatively new and contemporary offered by the periodical together with the book format’s promise of lasting value” (Schellenberg, 2009, p. 40). Therefore, since the printer’s task over the years was to manufacture a new edition of the entire sixth volume of The Annual Register, there was no need whatsoever to investigate or employ any other variant of the Proclamation itself. The last edition(s) of The Annual Register, it no doubt was assumed, contained the appropriate text required to recreate an ensuing imprint. It would be reasonable to assume then that, as time went on and as more versions of the entire volume were published, fresh induced discrepancies within the Proclamation segment would emerge and thereby prompt further textual inconsistency relative to the original material, no matter what the cause for replication. Consequently, the numerous editions of the sixth volume of the 1763 Annual Register opened a rather narrow document network for observing the deterioration of the original words of the Proclamation text, or at least of those distilled from an evolving Broadside-London-Gentleman’s-Register1A variant sequence. Advantageously, this study could be carried out without special attention placed upon selecting certain documents from specific collations, such as the one assembled in 1907 by Adam Shortt and Arthur G. Doughty — Documents Relating to the Constitutional History of Canada, 1759-1791 — that highlighted critical materials in that country’s development. Rather, the evolution of textual divergence of a single known instrument could be tracked and verified though a comparison of materials taken from a series of editions of one particular volume of The Annual Register.[14] Likewise, the expectation that those errors would be subsequently republished elsewhere in later variants of the Proclamation, including in independent, non-Register resources, could also be confirmed by additional tests.

Levenshtein’s edit distance metric

There is an effective tool to examine such disparities between resources. Vladimir Levenshtein proposed in 1966 an algorithm to assess information transfer, where the three operations of deletion, insertion, and substitution may be engaged to correct errors embedded in a transmitted string. To demonstrate its applicability in such a task, Soukoreff and MacKenzie (2001) used quick brown fox and quixck brwn fox as prototypic examples of presented and transcribed texts. While as many as a half dozen individual errors may be present in this message — caused by the failure of the xck br substring to accurately convey the initial ck bro material — the two most likely errors appear as the insertion of the character x in the original term quick and by the omission of the character o from the element brown. Comparing these tokens would reveal a computed Levenshtein’s edit distance (LED) score of 2, or a calculation of the total byte cost required to first delete that x, and then to accomplish the insertion of the o. Within such contrasts, identical strings would, by definition, produce a computed LED score of zero, and any calculated LED must be less than or equal to the maximum length of the two strings, since replacing an entire absent sequence of length k would require no more than k operations. The Levenshtein algorithm is both robust and adaptable, and it has been employed in diverse settings, including spell checking software (Kukich, 1992) and testing processes to detect plagiarism (Zini, Fabbri, Moneglia, and Panunzi, 2006). However, in text analyses such as in this examination of the Proclamation, these LED scores are especially intuitive, since any string comparison that supports an LED of zero means complete similarity between the compared elements in question, while any non-zero returned value immediately identifies disparities and the magnitude of such differences. A cumulative score from one comparison may be directly compared to the output derived from similar analyses with related texts.

In these examinations, each Proclamation text was normalized to lowercase; all punctuation was removed; and the residual copy was placed in a vertical array.[15] When two or more renditions are collected in this manner, there is frequently the need to impose blank lines (indicated as [blank]) in one version to assure alignment with another. Line number 227 through 229 in Table I (Download Excel File) illustrates how this process is employed. The Broadside variant has the string forty five degrees while other renditions contain the blank-supplemented data 45 [blank] degrees or forty-five [blank] degrees to provide the rectangularity required by this study. The Levenshtein test assesses pairs of such padding as any other data in Table I, but since these blanks are identical, they do not contribute to the assessed cumulative LED score. Appraisals of these three specific tokens from Broadside with those of either London or Gazette would generate LED scores greater than zero, whereas a contrast between the same components of London and Gazette would not, since both possess the three term string forty-five [blank] degrees. Note too that the Levenshtein cost of the relationship of the term quit-rents in Broadside with Register3’s quit rents at line number 1128 and 1129 is maximized because of the loss of that hyphen. Here, the bifurcation expense is eleven bytes, composed of the six characters deleted in order to convert quit-rents to quit on line number 1228, plus the five bytes needed to create the element rents on line number 1229 of Register3 that is represented by a new [blank] in Broadside. Ultimately, after all padding and alignment was accomplished, every variant had the same number of tokens, even if one rendition may have had more or less imposed blanks than another one. Since these data are a subset of a larger study, there are instances in Table I (Download Excel File) where a specific element is blank for all variants: line number 1021 and 1022 are blank in this analysis because a version in the larger, unpublished data set — i.e., from The Papers of Sir William Johnson — has the terms or tryals appended to the original Broadside phrase with liberty to all persons who may think themselves aggrieved by the sentences of such courts in all civil cases (Hamilton, 1951, pp. 977-984; Johnson). The presence of these two terms in Johnson affected the lengths of the entire text ensemble and so these appear as blanks in the materials used in this subset of variants. The result is that the total number of tokens examined — i.e., including all words and blanks — was 2437 for each rendition.

Test texts and results

The Proclamation was released in many formats, beyond that found in The Annual Register. A broadside sheet (as Broadside) was publically posted by the Crown to proclaim it in both England and then later in the United States. Another version was contained in the government’s official record of the event and published in The London Gazette newspaper (i.e., as London). Finally, the document appeared in the October 1763 issue of The Gentleman’s Magazine, a popular press monthly collation of pertinent events (Gentleman’s; see Carlson, 1938). These arrays of materials served as the entries in the following two lists that identify the “standard” presentations of the Proclamation, and the “test” executions derived from various later independent publications. Employing the term “standard” for these Broadside, London, Gentleman’s, and Annual Register materials is warranted by the reality of journalism in the 1760s. McLoughlin (1975, p. 11) observed that Edmund Burke’s “main source of news was the papers and gazettes” of the time and that these materials were compiled, beginning in 1758, by Burke in his role as a silent editor of the contents for The Annual Register (see volume 1 of The Annual Register, Or a View of the History, Politicks, and Literature, for the Year 1758, 1759). Indeed, “well-known papers like The London Gazette, The Publick Advertiser, The General Evening Post, The Gentleman’s Magazine and lesser known papers with political news and comments like The Monitor offered yet more details and more opinions” for that production (p. 11; emphasis added). The proposal to provide these compilations as an annual was itself a re-launching of a format that had few contemporary competitors, and so Robert Dodsley, the publisher of the Register, “had no major rivals to contend with” (p. 7).

Each subgroup of documents is ordered by publication date and each citation is accompanied by a unique identifier that is used in the remainder of this discussion and in the data tables. The names of the first four standard presentations are marked in green in the Tables; in blue for the ten Annual Register editions; and in orange for the eight test texts. For all Register versions, the Proclamation appeared on pages 208 through 213 of volume 6.

    Standard texts (N = 14)

  • By the King, a Proclamation (1763) — [Broadside];[16]
  • The London Gazette (1763) — [London];
  • The Gentleman’s Magazine, and Historical Chronicle (1763, pp. 477-479) — [Gentleman’s];
  • The Providence Gazette and Country Journal (1763) — [Providence];
  • The Annual Register (1764a, first edition) — [Register1A];
  • The Annual Register (1764b, first edition) — [Register1B];[17]
  • The Annual Register (1764c, first edition) — [Register1C];[18]
  • The Annual Register (1765, second edition) — [Register2];
  • The Annual Register (1768, third edition) — [Register3];
  • The Annual Register (1776, fourth edition) — [Register4];
  • The Annual Register (1782, fifth edition) — [Register5];
  • The Annual Register (1790, sixth edition) — [Register6A];
  • The Annual Register (1796, seventh edition) — [Register7]; and
  • The Annual Register (1810, revised sixth edition) — [Register6B].

    Test texts (N = 8)

  • A Collection of Several Commissions, and Other Public Instruments, Proceeding from His Majesty’s Royal Authority, and Other Papers, Relating to the State of the Province in Quebec in North America, Since the Conquest of it by the British Arms in 1760 (Maseres, 1772, pp. 86-92) — [Several];[19]
  • Report of the Lord Commissioners for Trade and Plantations on the Petition of the Honourable Thomas Walpole, Benjamin Franklin, John Sargent, and Samuel Wharton, Esquires, and Their Associates for a Grant of Lands on the River Ohio, in North America; for the Purpose of Erecting a New Government. With Observations and Remarks (1772, pp. 100-108) — [Plantations];
  • Capitulations and Extracts of Treaties Relating to Canada; With His Majesty’s Proclamation of 1763, establishing the Government of Quebec (1800, pp. 26-34) — [Capitulations];
  • Laws of the United States of America from the 4th of March, 1789, to the 4th of March, 1815, Including The Constitution of the United States, the Old Act of Confederation, Treaties, and Many Other Valuable Ordinances and Documents; with Copious Notes and References (1815, pp. 443-448) — [Laws];
  • Laws of the United States, Resolutions of Congress Under the Confederation, Treaties, Proclamations, Spanish Regulations, and Other Documents Respecting the Public Lands (1828, pp. 84-88) — [Lands];
  • Report from the Select Committee on the Civil Government of Canada (1829, pp. 357-360) — [Civil];
  • Documents Illustrative of the Canadian Constitution (Houston, 1891, pp. 67-71) — [Houston]; and
  • Select Charters and Other Documents Illustrative of American History, 1606-1775 (MacDonald, 1899, pp. 267-272) — [Select].

It should be noted that segments of the full Proclamation text have appeared in an extensive collection of other documents, ranging from entries in the American State Papers from the year 1810 that cited Proclamation remarks directly affecting Indians (see Illinois and Wabash land companies, 1834, pp. 94-95, and Land claims in the district of Kaskaskia, 1834, pp. 207-208), to a discussion of the same comments in a contemporary treatise on aboriginal law in Canada (Isaac, 2004, pp. 26-28). None of these truncated examples is reported here.

The Levenshtein tests across all variants identified a total number of 7,479 disparities among comparisons, with a cumulative LED of 23,968 bytes. Many of these differences are reproduced across variants: the token tenth in the Broadside declaration secured to our crown by the late definitive Treaty of Peace, concluded at Paris, the tenth day of February last appeared as either tenth or 10th in other renditions (see line number 31 in Broadside, London, Gentleman’s, and Providence in Table I (Download Excel File)). The number of unique faults was 314, with a total difference sum of 1,031 bytes; each of these specific line numbers in Table I (Download Excel File) is highlighted in yellow.

Royal Proclamation provenance evidence in The Annual Register editions

Navigating the provenance path of the Proclamation is not easy and this is abundantly clear just by selecting The Annual Register as the basis of such consideration. Todd’s analyses (1961 and 1964) of the numerous editions of volume 6 offered some help in this endeavor, but his parade of renditions can be confusing among themselves, let alone within the task of interrogating the variants’ lexicons as a means to pinpoint their sources. Indeed, there is the possibility that the Register1C edition (The Annual Register, 1764c) reported here and discussed below was not seen by Todd during those assessments. The Annual Register, though, was a rather unique vehicle, primarily because the publishers announced in their initial volume that, since they were “[n]ot confined to a monthly publication, we have an opportunity of examining with care the products of the year and of selecting what may appear most particularly deserving of notice” (The Annual Register, 1759, p. iv). This format and approach virtually guaranteed the use for years to come of the Register as a handy reference source, given its systematic compilation of events and the special highlighting of the entire Seven Years War (1756-1763) that was carefully prepared at the outset: “We have not in our first article confined ourselves to the history of the year. We have taken the war from its commencement. It is a subject which requires all the pains which we can bestow upon it, and much more skil[l]ful workmen” (pp. iv-v; emphasis added). All but one of the non-Register variants in this study sustained exactly the same reference resource role. The sole exception — Plantations — employed an appendix to document the contents of the Proclamation, since its parameters had relevance to the land grant request discussed by the Board of Trade in their report to King George III. Later, Myers made note of both of the Capitulations and Laws sources in his important Manual of Collections of Treaties and of Collections Relating to Treaties (1922, p. 197 and 348-349, respectively).

Todd’s systematic identification of editions imparted a chronological sequence that, upon an evaluation of the text of the Proclamation, supports the general hypothesis that later editions were the direct product of copying earlier versions on hand at the printing facility. This is a critical statement for a text analysis based on observed Levenshtein edit distance scores because there is the dual expectation that errors will undoubtedly occur during the copying phase and that the number of these errors will tend to increase in the replication process. In addition, the LED inquiry between the original Broadside issuance of the Proclamation and the government’s official publication in London, and then with the text of that announcement in The Providence Gazette and Country Journal (henceforth, Providence; see Table I) provided two noteworthy sets of test results. Broadside, and perhaps London, first arrived in North America at the end of November 1763, aboard the mail packet The Pitt. The Board of Trade on 10 October 1763 had ordered copies of the Proclamation sent to General Jeffery Amherst in New York (Ledward, 1935, pp. 389-390). The cover letter from the Earl of Halifax to Amherst communicated that “I herewith transmit to you several printed copies of the said proclamation, which you will be pleased forthwith to publish, and to distribute them to the commanding officers of the several forts and posts within your command, to the end that the same may be made known as speedily & universally as possible to all His Majesty’s subjects in America” (Carter, 1933, pp. 1-3; emphasis added). A reply from General Thomas Gage, on 9 December, established that “Sir Jeffery Amherst having sailed for England, in the Weazel sloop of war on the 18th of November, your Lordship’s letter to him of the 11th of October, by the Pitt packet, was received by me on the 30th Ulmo, together with several printed copies of a proclamation, under the great seal of Great Britain, which his majesty has judged proper to publish, in order to make known the several establishments and arrangements, which have been thought necessary to take place, in his majesty’s dominions in America” (Carter, 1933, pp. 2-4; emphasis added). Less than three weeks after that arrival, Providence was published in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations and it was declared at the head of the first column for that newspaper that “[t]he following proclamation, for improving and better regulating the countries and islands ceded to the crown of Great Britain by the last Treaty of Paris, hath been transmitted to the several governors of His Majesty’s colonies in North-America; the whole of which we now publish for the benefit of our readers” (The Providence Gazette and Country Journal, 1763, p. 1). LED scores, recorded in Table II (Download Excel File), derived from a comparison of Broadside and Providence, demonstrated far less copying errors (Nerrors = 17, cumulative LED = 47) than were found in a contrast of London and Providence (Nerrors = 52, cumulative LED = 188). Due to the transportation difficulties and delays of the period, there was a very limited number of Proclamation sources in North America during December 1763; one might speculate from these results that only Broadside was actually available.[20]

Further, returning to the published run of The Annual Register, there is evidence that there was little if any modification implemented among earlier Register texts along the path to any later productions. Cases of several spelling corrections of previous material found in a following rendition will be presented, and while this analysis examines only the few pages containing the Proclamation, similar parallel occurrences within these entire Register monographs would be expected. Later editions examined here, that displayed numerous adjustments, gave the impression of a general remediation to correct blatant mistakes. However, at least one introduced fault went undetected throughout almost every later edition of The Annual Register and this instance may be used to create a clear provenance path of this series of Proclamation publications.

Initial impressions

The core of this investigation was to employ the total error and the cumulative edit distance scores computed by the Levenshtein metric for pairs of texts of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 to identify the appropriate source for those materials. Among other issues, this approach relied upon the premise that the three standard sources of the Proclamation passage — Broadside, London, and Gentleman’s — served as the textual basis for later variants. This meant that earlier renderings of The Annual Register directly informed later editions, and the fact that each of the subsequent publications suffered from the same two inherent text exclusions, that appeared in the first edition of the Register, immediately indicated that their reproduction was not from Broadside, London, or Gentleman’s but rather from some prior Register volume. These two text deficits entailed the fourteen word, 61 byte soldier omission of the Broadside phrase and to such private soldiers as have been or shall be disbanded in America, located at line number 1257 through 1270 in Table I, and the sixteen term, 72 byte proprietary exclusion at line number 2070 to 2085 of the corresponding statement proprietary government they shall be purchased only for the use and in the name of such. Finally, the non-Register exemplars suffered from the same pair of textual shortfalls, thereby confirming that they too were derived from some preceding Register version. Absent the most direct path from Broadside to the first edition of The Annual Register for the year 1763, i.e., to Register1A, this study considered only this tightly correlated series of publications, wherein the minimum number of text errors, returned by the Levenshtein comparison for one specific target file against a series of potential preceding sources, was taken as evidence of the true source for that document. These findings, and the following remarks relating these editions, are based on these outcomes and presented in Table II (Download Excel File). Eleven pairings do not have LED scores, due to the materials’ publishing sequence. Several and Plantations were created prior to Register4, Register5, Register6A, Register7, and Register6B, while Capitulations preceded Register6B.

The standard Proclamation texts contrasts

The six comparisons of Broadside-London, Broadside-Gentleman’s, Broadside-Register1A, London-Gentleman’s, London-Register1A, and Gentleman’s-Register1A began this endeavor to demonstrate a rational publication path as evidenced by the presence of reproduction errors.[21] The first observation — concerning the immediate public distribution of King George III’s proclamation as Broadside — is that its replication was poorly achieved by London, the official government release of that statement. Table II (Download Excel File) denotes 44 errors generating 177 bytes of disparity between these two versions, where perhaps the most blatant adjustment in London was to the Quebec lake name Nipissim, which Broadside denoted as nigh Pissin (line number 210-211).[22] The remaining 43 differences relative to Broadside — including 10th vs. tenth; atlantic vs. atlantick; north-west vs. north west, for example — were inconsequential in terms of conveying the King’s command, but they remain errors nonetheless within a study of text reproduction. The 44 errors from this Broadside-London comparison furnished an error rate of 1.8% (44 errors/2437 tokens).[23] Further, as the law of the land, printers were expected to replicate accurately such declarations, yet London did not meet those standards and by failing to do so, later renditions of the Proclamation began to deviate from the King’s original statement, as “[p]rinted by Mark Baskett, Printer to the King’s most excellent majesty” (By the King, a Proclamation, 1763). It may be noted from Table II (Download Excel File) that the calculations from the comparisons Broadside-Gentleman’s (error rate of 2.2% [53 errors/2437 tokens]) and Broadside-Register1A (error rate of 3.9% [96 errors/2437 tokens]) exhibit increasing divergence. Indeed, the best apparent path from Broadside-London passes first through London-Gentleman’s (error rate of 1.4% [35 errors/2437 tokens]) and then by way of Gentleman’s-Register1A (error rate of 2.5% [60 errors/2437 tokens]). Table II (Download Excel File) reports only the individual tests between pairs of variants and does not directly indicate any corrections induced among variants. The observed reduction by 36 in the number of token differences between Broadside-Register1A (96 errors) and Gentleman’s-Register1A (60 faults) was not instituted by Gentleman’s adjustments to Broadside, but rather solely by the closer fit between Register1A and the former instead of with the latter (or London, for that matter).

The Proclamation texts in the editions of The Annual Register for the year 1763

On the other hand, the entries in Table II (Download Excel File) for the first and subsequent editions of The Annual Register confirm that the workers responsible for these products were extremely accurate in duplicating earlier renditions, at least as far as the text of the Proclamation found in these previous Register editions is concerned. As noted above, Table II (Download Excel File) shows that the path of least errors courses from Broadside to London to Gentleman’s to Register1A, but that between October 1763 and the following May when Register1A was published, dozens of disparities had already been introduced into the text initially published as Broadside. The observed error rate between Gentleman’s and Register1A was 2.5% (60 errors/2437 tokens), but an inquiry between Broadside and Register1A was swollen to 3.9% (96 errors/2437 tokens), advocating for the former stream as the true path of replication. The first six calculations in Table II (Download Excel File) reveal the range of rates.

The multiple “first” editions of The Annual Register for the year 1763

The difficult process of conceptualizing a route from the true first edition (identified by Todd as “1a” [1961, p. 114] and “12a” [1964, pp. 56-57] and assigned the name Register1A here; The Annual Register, 1764a) to later ones may be revealed by one example. A catchword, printed in the second edition (Todd’s “2” [1961, p. 114] and “12c” [1964, p. 57] or Register2; The Annual Register, 1765, p. 209), appears as An instead of as And as would be anticipated by the first word of the sentence on the following page: And whereas it will greatly contribute to our speedy settling our said new governments.… This evidence impedes a convenient expectation of simple replication from the first into this second edition. In addition, the two works display no indication of the edition on their title pages. A possible alternative source for Register2 was Todd’s “12b” (1964, p. 57), a version declared in that presentation as the first of two second editions, yet one that was also declared earlier by Todd as another first edition (“1b;” 1961, p. 114). The press figure data reported for those two renditions confirmed that they are composed of the same pages.

The Register1B variant differed in a number of important ways that will be discussed at length below, but at this juncture it may be said that the LED scores revealed that it was more dissimilar to Register1A (Nerrors = 7 and LED = 25) than Register2 was to Register1A (both Nerrors and LED = 0), even with the catchword evidence that the text had been reworked, or perhaps had suffered from forme damage.[24] Todd included the statement that “[c]ertain variant states are disregarded in this summary” (1961, p. 112), so it is unclear whether he was aware of the entry that is now defined in this study, in a manner similar to his coding for other renditions, as Register1C (The Annual Register, 1764c). This extra rendering, though, furnished a clear republication path from the first edition text variant to that of the second (The Annual Register, 1765; Register2), and the Levenshtein results support this contention: Register1A-Register1C (Nerrors and LED = 0) and Register1C-Register2 (Nerrors and LED = 0).

The comparisons of Register1A-Register1B, Register1A-Register1C, Register1A-Register2, Register1B-Register1C, Register1B-Register2, and Register1C-Register2 in Table II (Download Excel File) provided error counts of seven faults or less, with the two Register1C and Register2 variants sharing identical contents with that of Register1A. The few errors prevailing between Register1A, the very first publication of The Annual Register for 1763, and Register1B — an edition that Todd reported only exists in the collection of Columbia University (1964, p. 57) — consist of the incursion of the second term drawn at line number 448; the replacement of the token liberties by liberty (line number 687); the spelling corrections of Register1A’s govvernment and enjoymenr (line number 806 and 919, respectively); and the style changes to convert quit-rents into quit rents and north west into north-west (at line number 1128-1129 and 1657-1658, respectively). The identical Levenshtein scores for Register1B-Register1C and Register1B-Register2 (Nerrors = 7 and LED = 25) support the hypothesis that both Register1C and Register2 were derived from the Register1B text, instead of from Register1A. Indeed, the zero error count for Register1C-Register2 shows not only the connection between these two renditions, but also the precise origin of the latter.

The presence of the catchword An in both Register 1C and Register2 bolsters this conclusion, and there can be little doubt that Todd took under consideration Bowers’ remarks regarding catchwords that “[c]atchwords are particularly adapted to exposing textual disruption as well as resetting of any variety. An apt selection of catchwords in a series of editions of the same text will often show the reader, with no further proof required, the copy-text from which each edition was set” (1949, p. 127). Todd included catchwords found in his “1a” material (1964, p. 57), and all sixteen of the consistent catchwords listed by him were found in the variants Register1A and Register1C used here.[25] Even though Todd himself declared that the publication sequence was “bewildering” (1961, p. 105), the use of the Register1A text may serve well the needs of the present analysis to highlight the evolution of later Register editions and the replication of the Proclamation from these sources. The results found in Table II (Download Excel File) aid the proposal that Register1A most likely flowed from London, and that later editions of the Register were built upon Register1A. Given this perspective, these findings would support the contention that the second edition of 1763 Register was composed primarily from the contents of Register1C, in combination with a different first signature that announced this “new” edition.[26]

Other calculations furnished by Table II (Download Excel File) additionally propose — based upon the minimum number of faults between variants — that the third edition (Register3) was a derivative of Register1B; that the fourth edition (Register4) was then taken from the third; and that the fifth, sixth, seventh, and reissued sixth editions (i.e., Register5, Register6A, Register7, and Register6B) were all transcribed from Register4. The expected overall sequence of creating a subsequent edition upon the back of the immediately preceding one is maintained (or nearly so) for many editions, save for Register1C and Register3, both of which emerged from the confusing matrix of multiple “first” editions for that Register volume during the four year period of 1764 to 1768.

Printer intervention may be seen in some materials. Register3 contained a number of improvements that provided a cleaner variant: besides the spelling alterations to Register1A’s govvernment and enjoymenr (at line number 806 and 919), the term iregularities (line number 1919) was rectified and the drawn drawn incursion, evident in Register1B, Register1C, and Register2, was removed (line number 448). The Register4 edition was offered in 1776, nearly a decade after the third, and apparently served thereafter as the standard source for any later renditions developed in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, and until 1810.

Overall, then, and relative to the Register sequence, four points are vital. First, in many respects, the potential perseveration of errors from one edition to the next may be considered an occupational hazard of printers asked to create new unedited editions: replicating the last edition on hand fuels this result, especially when the original errors were initially induced by word substitution and not by the editing of spelling mistakes that were re-copied into the next production round. Second, Todd remarked (1961, p. 105) that within the Dodsley editions for the calendar years 1758 through 1763, “[t]he double or triple ‘firsts,’ evident in the volumes for 1761-5, are unexceptional, representing, I believe, nothing more than the usual expedient of reprinting, without a change in the title-leaf.” Thus, one might expect very limited, if any, deviations in the existing text for these select editions. Third, it may be noted simultaneously that any error consistency across editions may be taken as a gift from printers, who were asked to do no more than replicate old material (as Todd intimates) and who accomplished their task with great accuracy. Fourth, the recompilation of one or more individual passages — say, of something particularly focused or useful, like the text of the Proclamation — into an ensuing edition of the same Register yearbook, or into some special volume as Shortt and Doughty (1907) did to compile the main founding documents of Canada, must have been frequently facilitated by employing an only-available copy of the Register material. This would have occurred, regardless of its edition or year of publication, under the premise that such volumes should not change, even when those later editions were shaped years or even decades later. These four provisions — coupled to the overall skilled handling of the experienced printers[27] — set the stage for the detection, and the expected future independent uncorrected use of the same material, of slight textual changes that surfaced in earlier renditions of the Register.

Note that Todd (1961, p. 113) indirectly related this precision by enumerating editions of The Annual Register with a notation that assigned the successive publisher’s imprint to either “R. and J. Dodsley, Pall Mall” or to “J. Dodsley, Pall Mall” for the period 1759 to 1764, and then 1765 to 1793, respectively; the list on the following page of his work flagged the editions for either of these two possibilities. Thus, in this manner, only edition Register1A and Register1B were produced by R. and J. Dodsley, while the others were printed by J. Dodsley. This illuminates two issues. First, the actual printing of this array of publications between 1759 and 1767 was done either by “John Hughs of Lincoln’s Inn Fields,” his son Henry until 1773, or by Henry Hughs and Luke Hasard through the year 1793 (p. 113).[28] The printing technique and skills must have been quite consistent within and across these two periods for this printing establishment, even if “[s]ome of the reprinting, however, was delegated to others.” Second, editions Register7 and Register6B were produced by two different shops operated by a pair of dissimilar successors to the Dodsleys, perhaps thereby leading to more printing noise within these final two texts. In the summary below, the increasing error rate between Register1A and the other variants shows relative consistency in the earlier editions, in comparison to a progressive breakdown afterwards. The contrast between Register1A and Register1B, versus the test between Register1A and Register7 or Register6B, reveals a twofold increase in text errors over time, regardless of the absolute number of faults, or their cumulative LED score. Yet even with the maximum number of observed errors in Register7 and Register6B, the error rate is very low: 0.7% (17 errors/2437 tokens).

This presence of multiple first editions of the Register for 1763 was addressed in this study by acquiring a copy of the Proclamation from the first edition of the Register that had each of the press figures listed by Todd for that “first” first edition (1964, pp. 62-63, under column “12a”). This care was taken because a readily available file for the initial 1763 volume, i.e., the one provided by the Gale Eighteenth Century Collections Online suite (Gale document number CW125075299), does not exhibit all of the same press figures.[29]

Text differences, and cumulative Levenshtein edit distance scores, across editions of The Annual Register for the year 1763

Register1ANerrorsCumulative LED
Register1B 7 25
Register1C 0 0
Register2 0 0
Register3 8 23
Register4 11 33
Register5 13 35
Register6A 14 37
Register7 17 33
Register6B 17 39

Errors observed under these circumstances, then, may be construed as signposts of strong adherence to past work, and not as indicators of sheer carelessness. Exhibitions of style changes among texts — e.g., quit-rents vs. quit rents vs. quitrents at line number 1128 and 1129 — are considered here as expected noise.[30] The substitution of text words, however, was seen as a more substantial issue. In a blatant fault that is evident in the broader study, Broadside stated in 1763 And whereas, we are desirous, upon all occasions, to testify our royal sense and approbation of the conduct and bravery of the officers and soldiers of our armies, and to reward the same..., while Selected Speeches and Documents on British Colonial Policy, 1763-1917 (Keith, 1918, p. 7) declared that And whereas, we are desirous, upon all occasions, to testify our royal sense and approbation of the conduct and bravery of the officers and soldiers of our armies, and to renew the same… (emphasis added). The reward-renew exchange between just these two independent publications is very different from the reliability exhibited by these printers in their role as text replicators, and not editors, of versions of The Annual Register. These few differences — supporting the contention that these workers were conscientious and very adroit over the decades — also substantiate the notion that when an error did occur, it most likely went unchanged in that specific rendition, and then remained undetected among the subsequent re-imprinting routine.

liberties vs. liberty

The limited number of deviations found across these Register variants offers little room for speculations about provenance. However, there is one error that was critical to this comparative study: the original Broadside term liberties reappeared in almost every one of these Register volumes as liberty (line number 687), and so, this token was replicated in the independent publications derived directly from Register sources. Bryan Schwartz, a member of the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba, observed that such a transition of this sort existed in a comparison of the contents of The London Gazette and the much later Capitulations, when he expressed that “[f]or the most part, the differences between the two texts are merely editorial decisions regarding punctuation, capitalization, and typography. There are, however, a couple of typographical errors, as well as a number of small but interesting differences…” (Schwartz, 2011).

Subsequent to The London Gazette release, and distributed into the nineteenth century among the series of Register republications, the Proclamation appeared in the eight additional British and American renditions selected for this study. These are listed in Table I (Download Excel File) — as Several, Plantations, the said Capitulations, Laws, Lands, Civil, Houston, and Select — and may be used to illuminate this perseveration of the token liberty.[31] The pertinent sentence in Broadside stated in part And whereas it will greatly contribute to the speedy settling our said new governments, that our loving subjects should be informed of our paternal care, for the security of the liberties and properties of those who are and shall become Inhabitants thereof…, whereas Several and the other documents read … for the security of the liberty and properties of those who are and shall become Inhabitants thereof… (emphasis added). This was not an added, or a dropped, or perhaps a styled term, like the quit-rents example, that was carried into further republications. Rather, it was an act of token replacement that was carried into later Register editions as the result of printer accuracy, not error. This consideration — that these continuing discrepancies were due to the effective role played by the printers — is reinforced when it is recalled that the two text exclusions that occurred in The Annual Register variants promptly — and thereafter — clearly identified this series of editions. If there had been editorial consideration of the Proclamation contents of the first edition, prior to the creation of those later tomes, then it would have been expected that the Proclamation text would have been corrected, so as to rematch any of the Broadside, London, or Gentleman’s content. This further suggests that the content shortfall was due to Edmund Burke’s initial material for the volume. The absence of any later corrections to that passage by Burke, or anyone else, effectively eliminates any hypothetical editorial influences for this segment in Register replications. The focus in this examination upon a single suite of editions of a defined volume from one title additionally reduces the number of speculative publishing opportunities available to induce mistakes that a comparison of London and Capitulations, such as Schwartz described, does not permit.

The non-Register test texts

These eight Proclamation test texts are unequivocally taken from one of the Register editions, as manifested by the two text exclusions from the original Broadside printing, and they remove all possibility that any of the test variants came from Broadside, London, or Gentleman’s. Small errors — relative to Broadside — persist across all variants, initiated by Register1A. The two term, five byte string in any was removed from the Broadside text during the preparation of Register1A: …as also that no Governor or Commander in Chief in any of our other colonies or plantations in America do presume for the present, and until our further pleasure be known, to grant warrant of survey….” (see line number 1602-1603 in Table I; emphasis added). The similar phrase by our (line number 2197-2198) was not replicated in the remark, found within all variants except Civil, of and also give security to observe such regulations as we shall at any time think fit, by ourselves or by our commissaries to be appointed for this purpose. Two additional mistakes included the failure to reproduce the terms our and all at line number 1140 and 1221, respectively, from the texts as have been appointed and settled in our other Colonies, and and all other our Governors of our several provinces on the continent of North America. While there is little critical information lost by any of these departures, they all point to a shared provenance and to the applicability of the Levenshtein algorithm as a tool to discern these disparities among texts.

Besides these difficulties, these independent, non-Annual Register republications were far more tainted by copying errors than were the texts in the Register edition series. They originated in Britain, Canada (both before and after confederation in 1 July 1867; see An act for the union of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, and the government thereof; and for purposes connected therewith [Houston, 1891, pp. 186-224]), and the United States.

  • The Several variant — Britain

    The presence of the element liberty in Several, and in all but two of the remaining such presentations, is a direct statement that the liberty token was derived from an edition of The Annual Register created after the initial one, Register1A. Given this incidence in Several, the term liberty must have made its appearance prior to 1772, the year that Several was published. This in turn suggests that the alteration must have occurred in either the second presentation of the first edition of The Annual Register — that is, in Register1B — or in Register3; the term is absent from Register1A, Register1C, and Register2. An analysis of Several by employing Register1B — i.e., in a re-examination of the Register text in which liberty is initially present — was virtually indistinguishable (Nerrors = 56 and LED = 130) from a test between Register3 and Several (Nerrors = 57 and LED = 134).

    This specific rendition of the Proclamation was taken from A Collection of Several Commissions, and Other Public Instruments, Proceeding from His Majesty’s Royal Authority, and Other Papers, Relating to the State of the Province in Quebec in North America, Since the Conquest of it by the British Arms in 1760, assembled in 1772 by Francis Maseres, the Attorney General for the Province of Quebec in the years 1766 to 1769 (Lee, 1893, p. 407; see Martin, 2004 as well). His volume began with the presentation entitled A draught of an intended report of the Honourable the Governor in Chief and the Council of the Province of Quebec to the King’s most excellent majesty in his Privy Council; Concerning the state of the laws and the administration of justice in that province (1772, p. 1) and enumerated legal and political issues present in Quebec. The work’s relevance to this study is due to Maseres who, besides reserving space for the text of the complete Proclamation (pp. 86-92), also applied portions of this instrument within his Introduction. The preview employed the same sentence regarding the security of the liberty and properties that was found in the complete rendering; both sections thus made use of the modified liberty term. This dual presence substantiated the proposal that Several was derived directly from Register1B and that the apparent replacement of liberties by liberty in this publication was not the result of an error, but rather of accurate execution during reprinting the contents of Register1B.

    Several, in turn, was the ultimate source of three later publications — Capitulations, Civil, and Houston — and this is signaled by a text exclusion in Several that is then reproduced in these later publications. Remarkably, the error entails the precise manner in which the British government endeavored to provide an acceptable method to obtain Indian lands. In Broadside, the document affirmed in the critical section devoted to Indian affairs that And whereas 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 possession of such parts of our dominions and territories as, not having been ceded to or purchased by us, are reserved to them, or any of them, as their hunting grounds (emphasis added). In Several, the second or purchase option was eliminated: And whereas 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 possession of such parts of our dominions and territories as, not having been ceded to us, are reserved to them, or any of them, as their hunting grounds (p. 90 and see line number 1510-1512 in Table I).

    The absence of that phrase removed a critical alternative from the intent and design of the Proclamation. Banner (2005, p. 85) summarized this acquisition process by stating: “For most of the colonial period, Indian land was purchased by a wide variety of individuals and groups — from ordinary farmers to large-scale real estate speculators, from towns to colonial governments. And Indian land was sold by an equally varied set of sellers — from individual Indians, to small groups, to entire tribes. In 1763, however, at the end of the French and Indian War, when the imperial government reorganized its relationships with the Indians, this era came to an end. From 1763 on, land purchasing became a task performed exclusively by colonial governments, in the name of the Crown, and land selling became a task reserved to the tribes. Indian land sales were transformed from contracts into treaties — from transactions between private parties into transactions between sovereigns. After the American Revolution the government of the new United States would copy this feature of British Indian policy, and it has remained the foundation of land acquisition in the United States ever since.” McNickle (1957, p. 5) pronounced that such land transactions reflected the “European law-ways [that] required a man to have a piece of paper to show ownership; it was as important that this piece of paper change hands as it was that the real property pass from one to another. Even in the case of venturing companies to which grants of territory had been made by ruling heads of government (as in the case of Lord Baltimore and William Penn [for the colonies of Maryland and Pennsylvania, respectively]), the Europeans took the precaution of paying the Indians for the land, thus acquiring documentary title which other Europeans would recognize.” Even with this approach, the problems became more numerous: “The evolution of a policy which would meet at once the various needs and demands of the Indians as well as the requirements of the several colonies, was never completed by the British government, although the elements of such a policy had been under discussion for more than twenty years prior to the American Revolution. From the early days of settlement until the middle of the eighteenth century, each colony was allowed to deal directly with the Indians within its borders. Most of the colonies indeed had adopted measures designed to regulate trade and land purchases. But practices between the colonies varied so greatly and the administration of their own rules was often so inadequate that Indians complained of their treatment and either threatened or actually resorted to armed resistance” (p. 5). Further, there is no doubt that, given the immense debt accumulated during the Seven Years War, Britain considered a careful purchase plan as one perceptive approach to reduce the number of military personnel required to protect lands that might have been indiscriminately taken by settlers, even if such takings were deemed illegal; in part, the boundary line along the crest of the Allegheny Mountains was fixed there to further limit the western invasion by settlers. Thus, the Proclamation was developed to settle those difficulties that arose with the tribes over the acquisition of lands. Henceforth, purchases could only be made exclusively for the King. It is unfortunate, though, that each of Capitulations, Civil, and Houston were later plagued by this same exclusion and that subsequent readers of these specific variants were misinformed of the appropriate land transfer process, but this absence now serves as a clear indicator of the provenance of these three derivations of the Proclamation.

    Two incursions surfaced in Several and were carried forward into Capitulations and Civil: the elements and soldiers (line number 1245-1246) entered the sentence to such reduced officers and soldiers as have served in North America during the late war, and the token the is evident in Several, Capitulations, and Civil at line number 2329 for as well military as those employed in the management and direction of the Indian Affairs. There is also an interesting word replacement that began in Register1A, which then vanished in Several, Capitulations, Civil, and Houston. Broadside stated We have also thought fit, with the advice of our Privy Council as aforesaid, to give unto the Governors and councils of our said three new colonies, upon the continent full power and authority to settle and agree with the inhabitants of our said new colonies or with any other persons who shall resort thereto, for such lands, tenements and hereditaments, as are now or hereafter shall be in our power to dispose of (see line number 1084; emphasis added). All other Register-based renderings, save for Several, Capitulations, Civil, and Houston, remarked to settle and agree with the inhabitants of our said new colonies or to any other persons who shall resort thereto. These latter four documents removed the word altogether and reduced the statement to of our said new colonies or any other persons in that statement.

  • The Plantations variant — Britain

    The Report of the Lord Commissioners for Trade and Plantations on the Petition of the Honourable Thomas Walpole, Benjamin Franklin, John Sargent, and Samuel Wharton, Esquires, and Their Associates for a Grant of Lands on the River Ohio, in North America; for the Purpose of Erecting a New Government (Plantations; 1772, pp. 100-108) had similar error counts and cumulative edit distance values with Register1A (Nerrors = 19 and LED = 54), Register1B (Nerrors = 17 and LED = 53), and Register3 (Nerrors = 15 and LED = 53). The faint possibility that Plantations was directly reproduced during the same year from Several is apparently precluded by the LED results between those two variants that returned 61 errors and 147 bytes of disparity.

    This Board of Trade report remarked upon a prototypic land request of the times, i.e., by prominent land speculators in the colonies, but that application was refused by Whitehall in April 1772. In a statement that referenced, as well as reconfirmed, the Proclamation’s original intent to bar settlers from Indian country, the Board determined that: “Upon the whole, therefore, we cannot recommend to your Lordships to advise his majesty to comply with the prayer of this memorial, either as to the erection of any parts of the lands into a separate government, or the making a grant of them to the memorialists; but, on the contrary, we are of opinion, that settlements in that distant part of the country should be as much discouraged as possible; and that, in order thereto, it will be expedient, not only that the orders which have been given to the Governor of Virginia, not to make any further grants beyond the line prescribed by the proclamation of 1763, should be continued and enforced, but that another proclamation should be issued, declaratory of his majesty’s resolution not to allow, for the present, any new settlements beyond that line, and to forbid all persons from taking up or settling any lands in that part of the country” (pp. 32-33).

    What is especially pertinent to the present analysis is that the Board of Trade, in this formal setting, apparently used a copy of The Annual Register — perhaps the third edition, based upon these LED results — to provide the text of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 for the Appendix of this Report (pp. 100-108), instead of by consulting either London or some other official government rendering. The possibility that the source was the third edition is enhanced by the fact that this volume was, in 1772, the most current version of The Annual Register for 1763: it had been published four years before Plantations, and the fourth edition was not to appear until four years after.

    Plantations was the single variant that excluded the elements and territories (line number 1502-1503) from the Indian affairs declaration that the tribes should not be molested or disturbed in the possession of such parts of our dominions and territories as, not having been ceded to or purchased by us, are reserved to them, or any of them, as their hunting grounds. This omission might be a pertinent point in any proceedings devoted to Indian title, since the term territories or territory was used five times in the Proclamation to define the King’s decisions regarding the range of areas accessible only to the tribes for their activities.

  • The Capitulations variant — Canada

    Capitulations consists of a small collection of documents, presented on facing pages in both English and French, that were significant in the founding of Canada. It contains just five instruments: the 1759 Articles of Capitulation of Quebec; the complicated 1760 Articles of Capitulation of Montreal; the fourth article of the 1763 Definitive Treaty of Peace that defined the cession by France of Canada to Great Britain after the Seven Years War; the text of the Royal Proclamation of 1763; and the 1783 Articles of the Definitive Treaty of Peace Concluded at Paris, between his Britannic Majesty and the United States of America, on the 3d day of September, 1783 following the American Revolution (Capitulations and Extracts of Treaties Relating to Canada; With His Majesty’s Proclamation of 1763, establishing the Government of Quebec, 1800, pp. 2-4, 6-24, 24-26, 26-34, and 34-40, respectively). The entries in Table II (Download Excel File) do not strongly suggest that Capitulations was referenced and then copied as the Proclamation source by any subsequent publication. They do indicate, however, that Capitulations probably came from Several (Nerrors = 74 and LED = 214), the material accumulated by Francis Maseres, who had served as the Attorney General for the Province of Quebec. The exclusions and incursions, mentioned above for Several, also offer support for this contention.

  • The Laws and Lands variants — the United States

    These two entries deviate from the other Register-based ones by displaying the original liberties element at line number 687, instead of the revised liberty replacement token. This presence would support the notion that the source for these materials was one of the earliest Register editions, i.e., from either Register1A, Register1C, or Register2. These renderings were published in the United States during the years 1815 and 1828, respectively, well after the new Register editions period, and a shared descriptive paragraph connects their publishing history. As noted above, the Proclamation texts in Register1A and Register2 were identical, and Register1A only differed from Register1C by the incursion of the second presence of the term drawn at line number 448 of the latter. Neither Laws nor Lands had that incursion, suggesting that Laws, at least, may have come from either the true first edition of the Register, or from its second. The LED error scores in Table II (Download Excel File) hint that Lands was derived from Laws (Nerrors = 31 and LED = 149), and not from any of the Register or other preceding renditions. Certainly, the rigidity of the contents of a monarch’s royal proclamation insures to a considerable degree the overall amount of textual similarity. This liberties-liberty transition — coupled to the reemergence of the former token in Laws and Lands — particularly highlights the Levenshtein algorithm’s usefulness. The presence of the element &c (at line number 486) in the statement The Government of Grenada, &c. comprehending the Island of that name, together with the Grenadines, and the Islands of Dominico, St. Vincents and Tobago additionally differentiates these two texts from the rest. They have their own internal faults, as identified by the 31 errors of their LED score, but those inaccuracies mainly consisted of style issues — sea coast vs. sea-coast, quit rents vs. quit-rents, and commander in chief vs. commander-in-chief at line number 394-395, 1128-1129, and 2047-2049, respectively — supplemented by a number of spelling differences: rosieres vs. rosiers, catahouchee vs. catahouche, straits vs. straights, and especial vs. special at line number 280, 472, 560, and 1812. Similar incongruences were found between Register1A and Laws, with their 36 total errors, where Register1A had, for example, streights rather than straits at line number 560.

  • The Civil variant — Canada

    Civil was a response, in excess of 300 pages, to complaints filed by residents of Quebec, or Lower Canada, regarding the administration of the province. A number of witnesses were called during 1828 and their remarks formed the bulk of this document. The appendix to Civil contained a dozen and a half petitions, opinions, and supporting British government pronouncements — including the text of the Proclamation used here (pp. 357-360) — to supplement the report by the Select Committee, as ordered by the House of Commons in July 1827. The main conclusion of this investigation was that “[u]pon the great question of the union of the two Canadas, your committee have received much evidence, to which they desire to call the attention of the House. With reference to the state of public feeling that appears to prevail in these colonies on this momentous subject, your committee are not prepared, under present circumstances, to recommend that measure” (p. 5).

    From a text analysis perspective, it appears that Civil, too, was a derivative of either Several (Nerrors = 101, LED = 314) or Capitulations (Nerrors = 102, LED = 370). Error counts of 100 exceed a 4% error rate, based on a total element count of 2437 tokens, so this presentation has a number of text problems that substantially separate it from the precision of Several and Capitulations or from any other variant in this study. The reported common exclusions and incursions, beginning with Several, connect Civil to these sources, but an additional exclusion, originating in Capitulations and consisting of the emphasized Broadside words in the phrase 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 (line number 1730-1739), strongly link Civil to Capitulations.

    Civil has its own separate incursion — the word the at line number 2031 that modified at some public meeting or the assembly of the said Indians — and it has an exclusion consisting of the 14 word, 70 byte provision taking especial care to insert therein a condition, that such licence shall be void within the license procedure for trade with the Indians (line number 2261-2274). The latter may be considered as a severe deviation from the original intent of King George III.

  • The Houston variant — Canada

    William Houston, a librarian at the Ontario Legislature, compiled this set of fundamental Canadian instruments and prefaced it with the remark that “[t]his volume is the result of an attempt to bring together in a single collection the documents which contain the constitution of the Dominion of Canada and illustrate its historical development.” His Introduction (p. xvi) specifically noted predecessor instruments to the Proclamation: “The documents which precede the Royal Proclamation are all constitutionally important — the Treaty of Paris as containing the precise definition of the concessions made by the British to the French Government when Canada passed finally under British dominion; the Articles of Capitulation as the chronological background of the treaty stipulations; and the documents relating to the establishment of parliamentary government in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick, whose representative institutions have enjoyed a continuous existence ever since.” Other materials covered a range of instruments from the Treaty of Utrecht, 1713 to the Quebec Conference Resolutions of 1864. Houston also formed useful subject areas in which to accumulate pertinent data from resources offered on Canada’s administration for the periods both before and after Confederation in 1867, and on aspects of Canada’s boundaries and its international fisheries pacts. An examination of his Proclamation text revealed that the text degradation observed in Capitulations was reversed, and the wording appears to have been taken from a very late Register edition, i.e., either Register7 (Nerrors = 70, LED = 269) or Register6B (Nerrors = 70, LED = 263).

    Houston exhibits two simple incursions, supplying the article the in a number of passages that might have been added to improve readability. The extra word appears at line number 354 in to the source of the St. Mary's River and at line number 568 for together with the Islands of Anticosti and the Magdeleine. The use of words in the closing statement, instead of digits, to express the year — one thousand seven hundred and sixty-three at line number 2421-2426– recommends that the Capitulations text was consulted to some degree and may indicate that Houston studied several sources for his version of the Proclamation.

  • The Select variant — the United States

    As a history and political science professor at Bowdoin College, William MacDonald assembled American historical materials from the period 1606 to 1775 into a companion volume to his Select Documents Illustrative of the History of the United States, 1776-1861 (1898). In Select, he directly identified The Annual Register as the basis of his text for his Proclamation entry. The material was prefaced by an abstract stating that “[t]he principal objects of the royal proclamation of 1763 were, to provide for the government of the British possessions in America which had been acquired by the treaty of Paris; to define certain interior boundaries; and to regulate trade and intercourse with the Indians” (Select Charters and Other Documents Illustrative of American History, 1606-1775, 1899, p. 267). Note that the latter phrase — “to regulate trade and intercourse with the Indians” — was used in a Congressional series of six United States statutes to accomplish the identical task, An act to regulate trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes (1790 and 1793) and An act to regulate trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes and to preserve peace on the frontiers (1796, 1799, 1802, and 1834). The comment signals the perception of the continuity imposed upon United States Indian affairs by the Royal Proclamation of 1763. Select also exhibited a better degree of reproduction than was achieved by Capitulations; its source was probably Register7 (Nerrors = 34, LED = 116). However, Select suffers from an immediate difficulty. The closing that was provided by BroadsideGiven at our court at St. James’s the seventh day of October one thousand seven hundred and sixty three in the third year of our reign. God save the King — is missing from Select. These twenty-four terms account for 86 LED bytes of dissimilarity. Therefore, the difference between Register7 and Select amounted to only 10 errors subtending 30 bytes. Four of those errors were spelling faults (two occurrences of catahoochee, willfully and misdemeanors at line number 345, 472, 1835, and 2365); two pair of quit rents differences (line number 1128-1129 and 1298-1299); one correction to a typesetting error in Register7 (snch at line number 877 was adjusted to such in Select); and the use of the term with as a substitute for of (line number 2121) in Register7’s And we do, by the advice of our Privy Council, declare and enjoin, that the trade of the said Indians shall be free and open to all our subjects whatever (emphasis added).[32]

Conclusions

Levenshtein’s edit distance metric is a robust method to quantify differences between arrays of text elements. In this examination, the process of reissuing editions of The Annual Register for the year 1763, over a period of five decades, illustrated the unavoidable decay of text integrity traversing such a path. The transition of the token liberties into liberty in the 1768 production of the third edition of The Annual Register was reflected in the reoccurrence of the latter element in the same text position of Several, Attorney General Masere’s effort to provide King George III with A Collection of Several Commissions, and Other Public Instruments, Proceeding from His Majesty’s Royal Authority, and Other Papers, Relating to the State of the Province in Quebec in North America, Since the Conquest of it by the British Arms in 1760 (Maseres, 1772, pp. 86-92). Several subsequently may have then served as the source of the Proclamation text for Plantations, Capitulations, Civil, Houston, and Select, all of which possess that liberty term. Alternatively, each of these subsequent volumes may have used the third — or a still later — edition of The Annual Register for their own basis of the Proclamation, in a sequence comparable to that taken by Masere for the development of Several. Except for Select — which was published in the United States — all of these other variants were shaped either in Britain (Several and Plantations) or in Canada (Capitulations, Civil, and Houston), thereby perhaps affording easier immediate access to the broad series of 1763 Register editions.

While Several made no declaration whatsoever that its Proclamation text was taken from The Annual Register, the systematic Levenshtein comparisons between Several and the passages found in the four “standard” antecedents Broadside, London, Gentleman’s, and Register1A clearly pointed to the last representation as its underpinning. Through further testing with the editions that followed Register1A but preceded the assembly of Several, the possibility that Register3 was the true basis was substantiated. The sheer manifestations in later texts of liberty bolstered the strength of both this proposal and the perception that the Levenshtein metric was an effective way to unravel such fabrics. The ensuing observation that liberties, instead of liberty, was present in Laws and then Lands meant that the ultimate published source for these two renditions preceded the creation of Register3, whether it was an earlier Register edition or some other volume based on Register material. The small outcome scores exhibited in Table II (Download Excel File) independently signal that Lands was taken from Laws (Nerrors = 31 and LED = 149). Further, physical evidence for this proposition emerges from an inquiry that divulges a pair of concluding, explanatory paragraphs. These declared that “[t]his proclamation has been inserted entire, on account of its importance in relation to a variety of claims to public lands” (Laws of the United States of America from the 4th of March, 1789, to the 4th of March, 1815, Including The Constitution of the United States, the Old Act of Confederation, Treaties, and Many Other Valuable Ordinances and Documents; with Copious Notes and References, 1815, p. 448 and Laws of the United States, Resolutions of Congress Under the Confederation, Treaties, Proclamations, Spanish Regulations, and Other Documents Respecting the Public Lands, 1828, p. 88). The exact source of Laws may never be known, but it may now be offered with improved confidence that its foundation document was published prior to Register3 in 1768.

Apparently, neither the spirit nor the letter of the law in either Britain or North America was affected by any of these subtle text changes, but they were modifications nonetheless to the original instrument proclaimed by King George III. However, in terms of its implementation, the contents of the Proclamation were pertinent to the development of two new governments in North America, even if the King’s primary concern to separate the aboriginal peoples from the colonists was discarded after Independence by the United States. In the century following the Proclamation, dispossession ensued through “[t]he purchase of more than two million square miles of land from the Indian tribes [that] represents what is probably the largest real estate transaction in the history of the world” (Cohen, 1947, p. 42), but the legacy endured of the basic British acquisition method of ceded to or purchased by us.

Misrepresentations after 1763, occasionally caused by replication errors such as Several’s missing or purchased by option for those Indian lands, were in turn augmented by selective editorial judgments made for compilations other than those reported here. In the truncated text of the Proclamation contained in his Documents of American History, Commager (1934, pp. 47-50) acknowledged his reliance upon The Annual Register. The volume’s General Editor, Dixon Ryan Fox, wrote in the Foreword that “[e]ffective educational use of documents is practically impossible without a compilation” and that “[t]he novelty in the present work is in its successful essay toward practical completeness” (p. v; emphasis added). Yet, in Commager’s efforts to shorten the entry for his ensemble, a number of critical aspects of the Proclamation were excluded, encompassing roughly 400 words devoted to the King’s decisions to grant power to Governors and councils within the new colonies to settle usage issues for such lands, tenements and hereditaments, as are now or hereafter shall be in our power to dispose of, and to allocate bounty acreages to testify our royal sense and approbation of the conduct and bravery of the officers and soldiers of our armies, and to reward the same for their service in the French and Indian War. Commager attempted to frame these removals in his Preface — “I can plead only the exigencies of space” (p. vii) and that “I have taken very few liberties with these documents. Omissions have been indicated by the customary ellipsis sign” (p. viii). Regardless of the rationale or the magnitude of the freedoms taken, generations of readers of the many editions of Documents of American History have never received a complete version of the Proclamation. This consequence is especially unfortunate when it is recalled that Alvord referred to this decree as “one of the important state papers of the 18th century” (1908, p. 20).

The present concern, though, speaks more to the supplemental benefits of the deployment of Levenshtein’s edit distance algorithm to such resources than it does to the mere exposure of printing errors, editorial decisions, or lost opportunities to inform. Without errors — as promptly reflected here by the unexpected similarity of Register1A and Register2 — there would be no need for a text analysis of this document, let alone the necessity for deploying this metric and/or for crafting hypotheses regarding the concurrent flow of deviant Register editions and other vehicles presenting the Proclamation. Instead, the application of Levenshtein’s approach conferred three special outcomes. First, across all employed editions of The Annual Register for 1763, the computed number of errors and their cumulative byte totals were found to be small and consistent, reinforcing the proposition that the editions’ printers were skilled craftsmen who reliably fashioned a series of republications. Second, the few detected discrepancies — such as the replacement of the token liberties by liberty — furnish evidence for a more finely tuned catalog of transmission propositions to describe the actual printed path of the Proclamation text. This focus helped to unveil the journey from Broadside, as read and then posted on the streets of Britain in October 1763, to the document compilations pertaining to the history of Canada. Third, the clear stability of the LED scores across all the related editions of The Annual Register firmly established that there was a minimal introduction of errors at the printers' shop yet these changes were significant, as measured by their sheer appearance as components of the Register series and in other independent renderings that had consulted them. In such inflexible documents as laws and proclamations, the observed lexicon has the ability to act as a trustworthy reflector of its true source, whether in this case from the Board of Trade during the fabrication of the original Proclamation or — as now seems apparent when considering the liberties-liberty divergences — from the third edition of The Annual Register. Levenshtein’s algorithm uncompromisingly affords a strong mechanism to quantify those text deviations; to make apparent outcomes, like the liberties-liberty occurrences, which are related to the variability of the studied passages; and to deliver useful numerical substantiation to expedite provenance inquiries. The observations derived from the comparisons of these few renditions of the Royal Proclamation of 1763, captured from a variety of well-used sources, resonate with those rewards.

 

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Acknowledgements

The search for the Proclamation in variants of The Annual Register for 1763 gave us an opportunity to survey the holdings of libraries around the world. Our access to those far-away texts was expedited by the efforts of people who cherish these materials as much as we do. They deserve recognition here for their aid, for copies of their resources, for their encouragement, and/or for providing useful direction to refocus our searches. We thank Natalie Borisovets of Rutgers University; Joshua Caster of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln; Katherine Chansky of the Rhode Island Historical Library; Nicole C. Dittrich of Syracuse University; Jennifer Fauxsmith of the Massachusetts Archives; Todd Fell and Susan Walker of Yale University; Aine Finegan of the National Library of Ireland; Elena Fresco of the National Library of Scotland; Susan G. Glover of the Boston Public Library; Alison M. Greenlee of the University of Tulsa; Beth Juhl of the University of Arkansas; Máire Kennedy of the Dublin City Public Libraries; David Lincove of the Ohio State University; Stuart Meeks of the National Archives in the United Kingdom; Mark Nicholls and Kathryn McKee of St. John’s College, Cambridge; Joseph R. Nicholson of the Louisiana State University Libraries; Molly Schwartzburg of the University of Texas at Austin; Alison Scott of Harvard University; Jane Siegel and Tara C. Craig of Columbia University; Tabitha Tuckett of Magdalen College, Oxford; Jean Turner of the University of Limerick; and Mary Warnement of the Boston Athenæum for their assistance in this project. This examination would not exist without their kindness. In addition, we thank Brian Pytlik Zillig of the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln for implementing requested modifications to the Levenshtein edit distance software used in this study; Michael Black of the Department of Statistics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for his statistical advice during the preparation of this article; and Laura Weakly and Karin Dalziel of the Center for their assistance during this project.

 

Appendix

By the King,
A proclamation.
George R.[*]

Whereas we have taken into our royal consideration the extensive and valuable acquisitions in America, secured to our crown by the late definitive treaty of peace, concluded at Paris, the tenth day of February last; and being desirous that all our loving subjects, as well of our kingdoms as of our colonies in America, may avail themselves with all convenient speed, of the great benefits and advantages which must accrue therefrom to their commerce, manufactures, and navigation, we have thought fit, with the advice of our Privy Council, to issue this our royal proclamation, hereby to publish and declare to all our loving subjects, that we have, with the advice of our said Privy Council, granted our letters patent, under our great seal of Great Britain, to erect, within the countries and islands ceded and confirmed to us by the said treaty, four distinct and separate governments, stiled and called by the names of Quebec, East Florida, West Florida and Grenada, and limited and bounded as follows, viz.

First — the government of Quebec bounded on the Labrador coast by the river St. John, and from thence by a line drawn from the head of that river through the lake St. John, to the south end of the lake nigh Pissin; from whence the said line, crossing the river St. Lawrence, and the Lake Champlain, in forty five degrees of north latitude, passes along the high lands which divide the rivers that empty themselves into the said river St. Lawrence from those which fall into the sea; and also along the north coast of the Baye des Chaleurs, and the coast of the Gulph of St. Lawrence to Cape Rosieres, and from thence crossing the mouth of the river St. Lawrence by the west end of the island of Anticosti, terminates at the aforesaid river of St. John.

Secondly — the government of East Florida, bounded to the westward by the Gulph of Mexico and the Apalachicola river; to the northward by a line drawn from that part of the said river where the Chatahouchee and Flint rivers meet, to the source of St. Mary’s river, and by the course of the said river to the Atlantick Ocean; and to the eastward and southward by the Atlantick Ocean and the Gulph of Florida, including all islands within six leagues of the sea coast.

Thirdly — the government of West Florida, bounded to the southward by the Gulph of Mexico, including all islands within six leagues of the coast, from the river Apalachicola to Lake Pentchartrain; to the westward by the said lake, the Lake Mauripas, and the river Missisippi; to the northward by a line drawn due east from that part of the river Missisippi which lies in thirty one degrees north latitude, to the river Apalachicola or Chatahouchee; and to the eastward by the said river.

Fourthly — the government of Grenada, comprehending the island of that name, together with the Grenadines, and the islands of Dominico, St. Vincents, and Tobago.

And to the end that the open and free fishery of our subjects may be extended to and carried on upon the coast of Labrador, and the adjacent islands, we have thought fit, with the advice of our said Privy Council to put all that coast, from the river St. John’s to Hudson’s Streights, together with the islands of Anticosti and Madelaine, and all other smaller islands lying upon the said coast, under the care and inspection of our governor of Newfoundland.

We have also, with the advice of our Privy Council, thought fit to annex the islands of St. John’s and Cape Breton, or Isle Royale, with the lesser islands adjacent thereto, to our government of Nova Scotia. We have also, with the advice of our Privy Council aforesaid, annexed to our province of Georgia all the lands lying between the rivers Attamaha and St. Mary’s.

And whereas it will greatly contribute to the speedy settling our said new governments, that our loving subjects should be informed of our paternal care, for the security of the liberties and properties of those who are and shall become inhabitants thereof, we have thought fit to publish and declare, by this our proclamation, that we have, in the letters patent under our great seal of Great Britain, by which the said governments are constituted, given express power and direction to our governors of our said colonies respectively, that so soon as the state and circumstances of the said colonies will admit thereof, they shall, with the advice and consent of the members of our council, summon and call general assemblies within the said governments respectively, in such manner and form as is used and directed in those colonies and provinces in America which are under our immediate government; and we have also given power to the said governors, with the consent of our said councils, and the representatives of the people so to be summoned as aforesaid, to make, constitute, and ordain laws, statutes, and ordinances for the publick peace, welfare, and good government of our said colonies, and of the people and inhabitants thereof, as near as may be agreeable to the laws of England, and under such regulations and restrictions as are used in other colonies; and in the mean time, and until such assemblies can be called as aforesaid, all persons inhabiting in or resorting to our said colonies may confide in our royal protection for the enjoyment of the benefit of the laws of our realm of England; for which purpose we have given power under our great seal to the governors of our said colonies respectively to erect and constitute, with the advice of our said councils respectively, courts of judicature and publick justice within our said colonies for the hearing and determining all causes, as well criminal as civil, according to law and equity, and as near as may be agreeable to the laws of England, with liberty to all persons who may think themselves aggrieved by the sentences of such courts, in all civil cases, to appeal, under the usual limitations and restrictions, to us in our Privy Council.

We have also thought fit, with the advice of our Privy Council as aforesaid, to give unto the governors and councils of our said three new colonies, upon the continent full power and authority to settle and agree with the inhabitants of our said new colonies or with any other persons who shall resort thereto, for such lands, tenements, and hereditaments, as are now or hereafter shall be in our power to dispose of; and them to grant to any such person or persons upon such terms, and under such moderate quit-rents, services, and acknowledgements, as have been appointed and settled in our other colonies, and under such other conditions as shall appear to us to be necessary and expedient for the advantage of the grantees, and the improvement and settlement of our said colonies.

And whereas, we are desirous, upon all occasions, to testify our royal sense and approbation of the conduct and bravery of the officers and soldiers of our armies, and to reward the same, we do hereby command and impower our governors of our said three new colonies, and all other our governors of our several provinces on the continent of North America, to grant without fee or reward, to such reduced officers as have served in North America during the late war, and to such private soldiers as have been or shall be disbanded in America, and are actually residing there, and shall personally apply for the same, the following quantities of lands, subject, at the expiration of ten years, to the same quit-rents as other lands are subject to in the province within which they are granted, as also subject to the same conditions of cultivation and improvement; viz.

To every person having the rank of a field officer, five thousand acres. To every captain, three thousand acres. To every subaltern or staff officer, two thousand acres. To every non-commission officer, two hundred acres. To every private man, fifty acres.

We do likewise authorize and require the governors and commanders in chief of all our said colonies upon the continent of North America to grant the like quantities of land, and upon the same conditions, to such reduced officers of our navy of like rank as served on board our ships of war in North America at the times of the reduction of Louisbourg and Quebec in the late war, and who shall personally apply to our respective governors for such grants.

And whereas 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 possession of such parts of our dominions and territories as, not having been ceded to or purchased by us, are 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, as described in their commissions; as also that no governor or commander in chief in any of our other colonies or plantations in America do presume for the present, and until our further pleasure be known, to grant warrants of survey, or pass patents for any lands beyond the heads or sources of any of the rivers which fall into the Atlantick Ocean from the west and north west, or upon any lands whatever, which, not having been ceded to or purchased by us as aforesaid, are reserved to the said Indians, or any of them.

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, as 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 the purchasing lands of the Indians, to the great prejudice of our interests, and to the great dissatisfaction of the said Indians: in order, therefore, 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 publick meeting or assembly of the said Indians, to be held for that purpose by the governor or commander in chief of our colonies respectively within which they shall lie. And in case they shall lie within the limits of any proprietary government, they shall be purchased only for the use and in the name of such proprietaries, conformable to such directions and instructions as we or they shall think proper to give for that purpose; and we do, by the advice of our Privy Council, declare and enjoin, that the trade with the said Indians shall be free and open to all our subjects whatever, provided that every person who may incline to trade with the said Indians do take out a licence for carrying on such trade from the governor or commander in chief of any of our colonies respectively where such person shall reside, and also give security to observe such regulations as we shall at any time think fit, by ourselves or by our commissaries to be appointed for this purpose, to direct and appoint for the benefit of the said trade; and we do hereby authorize, enjoin, and require the governors and commanders in chief of all our colonies respectively, as well those under our immediate government as those under the government and direction of proprietaries, to grant such licences without fee or reward, taking especial care to insert therein a condition, that such licence shall be void, and the security forfeited in case the person to whom the same is granted shall refuse or neglect to observe such regulations as we shall think proper to prescribe as aforesaid.

And we do further expressly enjoin and require all officers whatever, as well military as those employed in the management and direction of Indian affairs, within the territories reserved as aforesaid for the use of the said Indians, to seize and apprehend all persons whatever, who standing charged with treasons, misprisions of treason, murders, or other felonies or misdemeanors, shall fly from justice and take refuge in the said territory, and to send them under a proper guard to the colony where the crime was committed of which they stand accused, in order to take their tryal for the same.

Given at our court at St. James’s the seventh day of October one thousand seven hundred and sixty three in the third year of our reign. God save the King.

*Source: Broadside (By the King, a Proclamation, 1763). [back]

 

Notes

*Phone: 402-472-4473
Fax: 402-472-5181
E-mail: cbernholz2@unl.edu [back]

**Phone: 402-472-2522
Fax: 402-472-5181
E-mail: bogrady1@unl.edu [back]

1. See Johnson v. M’Intosh (1823, p. 549), heard by the United State Supreme Court, stating that “on 7 October, 1763, the King of Great Britain made and published a proclamation for the better regulation of the countries ceded to Great Britain by that treaty, which proclamation is referred to and made part of the case;” Oneida Indian Nation v. New York (1982, p. 1076), before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, recalled that “[t]he efforts of the Crown culminated in the issuance of the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which forbade the purchase or settlement of Indian lands by anyone, including the colonial governors, without permission of the Crown;” and State v. Elliot (1992, p. 111), decided by the Vermont Supreme Court, restated that “[i]n 1763, the Crown issued a ‘Royal Proclamation,’ once again forbidding colonial settlement on Indian-occupied lands and ordering settlers occupying Indian lands to abandon the properties.” [back]

2. This war was only a portion of the much larger conflict termed the Seven Years War; Baugh (2011) called its reach “global” in his title. See Part VI in Leckie (1999, pp. 265-365) for a useful description of the conflict in North America and of the relationships formed by the French with the tribes. [back]

3. The main English text of this transaction is available on pp. 320-334. [back]

4. The event is noted in compilations like The Dictionary of Dates (Keller, 1934, p. 434), as a mechanism to establish “civil government in Canada” under its new name, Quebec, and the Dictionary of Historic Documents (Kohn, 1991, p. 266), as “an effort to placate the Indians in the American colonies after the French and Indian War.” However, it was not included in Williams’ Chronology of World History (1999, pp. 637-640) for the year 1763. [back]

5. John Pownall, the Secretary of the Board of Trade, had ordered for publication in the London Gazette an ad for lands available in Florida (Ledward, 1935, p. 408): “The Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations having received information, that many persons are desirous of grants of land in his Majesty’s Provinces of East and West Florida in America, in order to the cultivation of the same for the raising of silk, cotton, wine, oil, indigo, cochineal and other commodities, to which the said lands are adapted, their lordships, therefore, to avoid any delay in the making of such settlements, do, by his Majesty’s command, give publick notice, that his Majesty has been pleased to direct, that the lands in his Majesty’s said Provinces of East Florida and West Florida shall be surveyed and laid out into townships, not exceeding twenty thousand acres each, for the convenience and accommodation of settlers, and that these townships, or any proportions thereof, will be granted upon the same moderate conditions of quit rent and cultivation as are required in other colonies, to such persons as shall be willing to enter into reasonable engagements to settle the lands within a limited time, and at their own expence, with a proper number of useful and industrious Protestant inhabitants, either from his Majesty’s other colonies, or from foreign parts; and all persons, who may be willing to obtain such grants, are desired to send in their proposals in writing to John Pownall, Esquire, Secretary to the said Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations.” [back]

6. See the Appendix for the complete text of the Royal Proclamation of 1763, as supplied by Broadside. [back]

7. The entire proceedings — In the matter of the boundary between the Dominion of Canada and the colony of Newfoundland in the Labrador peninsula — are available here. [back]

8. This roving boundary may be seen in the Canada Gazetteer Atlas (1980, pp. 15-16). [back]

9. The scope of a constitution so created was also explored in Campbell v. Hall (1774), a Judicial Committee case that involved the island of Grenada. One conclusion was that even the King himself becomes liable to a constitution’s rules, after he has ordered the creation of such an instrument and its concomitant laws. See Kennedy (1918, pp. 79-85) for the full text of this case, including an initial footnote that stated: “This judgment has been printed in full because a) it provides contemporary legal opinion regarding the laws of a conquered country, and b) because it establishes the legal position of the Proclamation of 1763” (p. 79; emphasis added). [back]

10. It is interesting to note, in his investigation of printing discrepancies, that Todd (1961, p. 1124) has “19 May 1764” for the initial publication date of the 1763 Annual Register, but his later work regarding Edmund Burke has “16 May 1764” (Todd, 1964, p. 56). Copeland (1949, p. 117) entered “May 17, 1764” in his catalog of publication dates for volumes of the Register, and McLoughlin (1975, p. 10) remarked that “[t]he 1763 issue came out… on 17th May, 1764.” [back]

11. See the “Test texts and results” section for a list of all renditions and their identifiers. [back]

12. Chitty (1820, pp. 106-107) observed that as part of the delivery of such a pronouncement, “[i]t is of course necessary that [a proclamation] be published, in order that the people may be apprized of its existence, and may be enabled to perform the injunctions it contains” and that “[i]n the absence of any express authorities on the point, it should seem that if the proclamation be under the great seal, it need not be made by any particular class of individuals, or in particular manner or place; and that it would suffice if it were made by any one, under the King’s authority, in the market-place or public streets of each large town. It always appears in the Gazette.” Black (2001, p. 6) remarked that “[t]he Gazette became a state-directed commercial concern, a good example of the state catching up with private enterprise, for the government needed a means of disseminating news and appointments.” Among other attributes, “[t]he London Gazette was the first newspaper to have the look and feel of a newspaper in the modern sense of the word” (Lake, 1984, p. 39). [back]

13. The National Archives in the United Kingdom has a copy of Broadside under the designation “Quebec, Canada; East Florida; West Florida and Grenada, West Indies: printed copy of proclamation setting forth limits and bounds of the four governments and certain provisions contained in the letters patent.” This is part of the Colonial Papers subsection of the Privy Council and Privy Council Office: Miscellaneous Unbound Papers collection, originally classified as PC 1/59/5/1 and now EXT 6/119. The Broadside format was well employed during the 18th century. In a publication to commemorate the sesquicentennial anniversary of the United States Government Printing Office, an image of “Government Document No. 1,” issued by the First Continental Congress, was included to show a 6¾ by 4¼ inch broadside dated 22 September 1774 that “called for the non-importation of British goods ‘until the sense of Congress, on the means to be taken for the preservation of the Liberties of America, is made public’” (Keeping America Informed: The U.S. Government Printing Office: 150 Years of Service to the Nation, 2011, p. 4). [back]

14. The Annual Register for the year 1768 included within its “Miscellaneous Essays” section a report (English, 1768) that described the work of Benjamin Kennicott on variants of the Hebrew Bible (1768). One remark from that article, by Kennicott himself, is pertinent here: “It had been before discovered, in the course of this work, that the older the MSS are, the more they differ from the modern printed text, and the more they agree with the ancient versions and the quotations in the New Testament” (p. 156). Thus, the awareness of degrading texts across editions or republications of the Bible was under examination at the very moment that the Proclamation was made available in the third edition of the Register. [back]

15. As a comment regarding the structure of the Proclamation, Clark (1987, p. 12) revealed a personal communication with Brian Slattery, who prepared a doctoral dissertation on the Proclamation (1979). Slattery indicated to Clark that “the truest copy [of the Proclamation], that on the vellum role [sic] at the Public Record Office, London, in fact has virtually no punctuation. It follows an eighteenth century style of one run-on sentence.” [back]

16. This text was printed by the King’s Printer for public display. The version used here was taken from the Early Canadiana Online digital collection (Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions [CIHM] number 63273). This copy was itself “[s]canned from a CIHM microfiche of the original publication held by the McLennan Library, McGill University, Montreal.” A poster-like reproduction of this instrument is also available as Document # 387 in The Lawrence Lande Collection of Canadiana in the Redpath Library of McGill University bibliography (1965, between pp. 50-51). [back]

17. Todd (1961, p. 107; emphasis added) indicated that this edition was one of several “counterfeit ‘firsts’” but did not elaborate on that claim. In his subsequent discussion of Edmund Burke, Todd called this presentation “[a]n unlabeled reprint” (1964, p. 57). [back]

18. This edition was not reported by Todd. [back]

19. Several’s preface contains the remark that “the following papers have been collected together and printed in one volume, with a view to facilitate and expedite the settlement of the province of Quebec” and that these “several instruments of government” therefore included “the King’s proclamation in October, 1763, for erecting four new governments in the ceded countries in America, whereby his Majesty promises to such of his subjects as shall resort to, and settle in, the said governments, that as soon as the circumstances of those new governments will respectively permit, they shall be governed in the same manner as the subjects of the Majesty’s other colonies in America” (p. v). [back]

20. This London-Providence question assumes that London had arrived in North America along with Broadside and had been available as a potential source for the editors of The Providence Gazette and Country Journal. There is, however, no evidence that London was accessible or so employed. A query between Broadside and London is evidence of an immediate breakdown between the texts available in the public poster version of the Proclamation and that found in the official government release through The London Gazette; there were 44 errors and a cumulative edit distance score of 177 bytes. This corroborates the proposal that Providence most likely came from Broadside (with just 17 errors and 47 bytes of disparity), even though there remains the possibility that General Gage had the contents of his Board of Trade copy of Broadside reproduced yet again prior to distribution to the colonies. No evidence of this extra step has been found. [back]

21. The three sets of results from Broadside-Providence, London-Providence, and Gentleman’s-Providence are included in Table II (Download Excel File) to exhibit the strong linkage between the texts of Broadside and Providence. It was virtually impossible for Providence to have been derived directly from Gentleman’s, but the similar scores for London-Providence and Gentleman’s-Providence bolster the contention that Gentleman’s was reproduced from London. Among the 52 and 54 errors found in the contrasts of London-Providence and Gentleman’s-Providence, respectively, 36 faults were shared. [back]

22. This body of water is now identified as Lake Nipissing (see map coordinates 1H on p. 54 of the Canada Gazetteer Atlas, 1980), a geographical name already employed in the Journal of a Voyage to North-America that was printed in London by R. and J. Dodsley, the publishers of The Annual Register (Charlevoix, 1761, p. 47). Nevertheless, in this study, the term nipissim (line number 210) occurred in all the Register editions and related independent publications that cited the lake’s name from the 1763 Register. [back]

23. The total number of tokens includes the blanks required to rectangularize the entire data set. This means that the calculated error rate is less than if only the smaller word count served as the denominator in that estimate. As one approximation of the degree to which this estimate is diminished, the true word count for Broadside — 2408 tokens — may be used to recalculate this Broadside-London comparison with its 44 copying errors: the new rate evaluation is 1.827%, instead of the proposed 1.805% with all 2437 possible elements. [back]

24. Bowers (1949, p. 47) identified alterations to text pages caused by pulled type, or the process whereby “individual types are sometimes jerked from the forme by the ink-balls” used to apply ink to the typeface of the sheet. [back]

25. The text of Register1C is available from Oxford University’s Register website, and Register1A and Register2 may be accessed from Gale’s Eighteenth Century Collections Online. The phrase “consistent catchwords” is used to identify those elements uncovered by Todd in all copies that he examined. There are two others tokens in his list that are defined as found in “(some copies),” but neither of those two catchwords is present in Register1A or Register1C. [back]

26. Gale’s Eighteenth Century Collections Online has the text for Register2 as well. [back]

27. Todd (1961, p. 113) indirectly related this precision by marking editions 1A, 1B, and 2 through 6A of The Annual Register for 1763 with a notation that assigned the successive publisher’s imprint to either “R. and J. Dodsley, Pall Mall” or to “J. Dodsley, Pall Mall” in the years 1759 to 1764, and then 1765 to 1793, respectively. The list of editions, on the following page, flagged the editions with either an “a1” or an “a2” for these two imprint possibilities. Thus, only edition 1A and 1B were marked as “a1,” while the others were placed in the “a2” collection. Two issues are critical. First, the actual printing of this array of publications between 1759 and 1767 was done by either “John Hughs of Lincoln’s Inn Fields,” followed by his son Henry until 1773, and then by Henry Hughs and Luke Hasard through the year 1793 (p. 113). The printing technique and skills must have been fairly consistent within and across these two periods, even if “[s]ome of the reprinting, however, was delegated to others.” Second, editions 7 and 6B of the Register were produced by different printers for two unrelated successors to the Dodsleys, perhaps leading to more text noise within these final two texts. [back]

28. One distinct formatting change occurred between the fourth and later editions for the page headings on the even and odd pages. They read, respectively, “Annual Register” and “For the year 1763” in editions 1A, 1B, 1C, 2, 3, and 4, while the later impressions had “Annual Register, 1763” and “State Papers.” [back]

29. We thank Alison Greenlee at the University of Tulsa for providing materials from the McFarlin Library to support this examination. [back]

30. The closing of the Proclamation entails the validation and motto Given at our court at St. James’s the seventh day of October one thousand seven hundred and sixty three in the third year of our reign. God save the King. Only Broadside, Register4, Capitulations, and Houston provided the year in this manner, instead of using the digits 1763 (line number 2420-2426). [back]

31. The term liberties reappeared in Laws and Lands. [back]

32. In text analysis studies, it is sometimes necessary to interpret a token that is either poorly printed, or is reproduced in a manner that raises questions about its true nature. In Select, three instances occur on page 212 within the text segment that states And we do, by the advice of our Privy Council, declare and en join, that the trade of the said In dians shall be free and open to al our Subjects whatever (emphasis added). Each of the noted elements was printed along the gutter and, in the case of the first two, appears to show that a soft hyphen is missing; similar bifurcated words further down the same edge of the page contain this character. The method used to reproduce this passage of the seventh edition of the Register was considered as the cause of these errors, and so the observed terms were accepted as enjoin, Indians, and all at line number 2117, 2124, and 2131. [back]