James Benger et al. [Commanders of Barnstaple and Bideford ships resorting to Ferryland, merchants trading and inhabitants living there]; 10 January, 1707
Petition to the Board of Trade
Great Britain, PRO, Colonial Office, CO 194/4 (13), 41.
CNS microfilm. Transcribed by P.E. Pope.
The unfeigned thanks and humble petition of the commanders of Barnstaple and Bideford ships resorting to Ferryland as also of the merchants trading and the inhabitants living there.
To the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners appointed for Trade and Plantations:
We return your Lordships' most sincere and unfeigned thanks for the great care you took in providing a convoy for our Barnstaple and Bideford ships for Newfoundland and the ordering said convoy to guard and protect us in our fishery at Ferryland, which proved beneficial and advantageous to us in our voyage and more particularly by the industry forwardness and assistance of Captain George Paddon, commander of her Majesty's ship SWALLOW price [prize ship?], our convoy, who himself and ships' company did [in 1706], with the greatest cheerfulness and forwardness, assist us in every respect in providing us with boats from other harbours, catching of bait for us, and fortifying the place, to our great and general satisfaction, without which we could not have caught near the quantity of fish we did, which we wholly attribute to your Lordships' and his assistance. We crave your favour to continue the said Captain Paddon for our convoy the year ensuing .
We are very sensible of your Lordships' forwardness in promoting and protecting the noble fishery and the harbour of Ferryland, being the chief harbour, where all our ships resort and so advantageously situate and naturally fortified, beg leave humbly to request your Lordships that your Lordships would be pleased, in your great wisdom, to promote the fortification of said place or that a man of war [warship] might be yearly ordered to attend and guard Ferryland harbour, that the fishery may again be promoted, which hath so much decayed of late years. For in Ferryland and the adjoining harbours, Caplin Bay, Cape Broyle, Aquafort, Fermeuse and Renews, there hath been kept eighty-six boat by inhabitants [planters] and now, in all those harbours, but seven boats kept, which is at Ferryland. And years together, in those above harbours, have been forty sail of fishing ships; so your Lordships may plainly see the great decay of this noble fishery. And the southern ports being so well furnished with good and convenient harbours and the most principal part of all the country in the English possession for fishing ground, that if Ferryland be taken care of it will much encourage both shipping and inhabitants to resort thither, that so beneficial a trade may be supported, which we humbly submit to your Lordships great wisdom and consideration. And your petitioners shall ever pray.
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