Documents relating to Ferryland: 1597 to 1726
21 January, 1706; George Strange et al. [Merchants of
Great Britain, PRO, Colonial Office,
CO 194/3 (100), 363.
Subjects: France, war, commerce, cod, fisheries, ships, fortifications, plan.
To the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of Trade
The humble petition of the Merchants of Bideford, in the County of Devon, trading to Newfoundland
That for many years past your petitioners have sent from this port 40 to 50 ships yearly in a fishing voyage to Ferryland and the parts adjacent in Newfoundland, to the great advantage of Her Majesty's revenue, bringing up thereby a numerous company of seamen for the Queen's service [and to] the great benefit of the country by taking of their provisions.
And, for as much as our fishermen are unacquainted with fishing in St. John's or any other of the northern harbours, there not being room for our ships and boats should we send them thither, and since Ferryland has been often insulted by the French and Indians, who no less than 3 times in the last year  burned and destroyed all they could not carry away from thence, so that if your petitioners, having no fort, should be also void of a man of war [warship] to protect our fishery during the fishing season in the country, your petitioners will be most certainly ruined.
And your petitioners, having advice that care is taken for the erecting of forts in their parts of Newfoundland and knowing that Ferryland, your petitioners usual place of fishing, may be made a good fortification with little charge:
We most humbly pray that a fort may be erected in Ferryland, to protect our fishery in the summer and to preserve from plundering and burning what we must leave there during the winter. And that your Honours would be pleased to grant a man of war to come to Milford by the 20th of February  to take care of our ships and see them safe to Ferryland. And that the Captain may have your Honours' orders to stay there in harbour to protect our men, until a fort can be finished.
Your petitioners are the more earnest in their supplications for a timely convoy, for that the delay thereof has formerly almost ruined our fishing voyages by our ships not arriving in the Land [Newfoundland] until the season was almost over.
And your petitioners as in duty bound shall ever pray etc.