The English Period (1714-1764)
In 1714 the British were quite unfamiliar with the newly-acquired regions
of Placentia Bay, the Burin Peninsula, the South Coast from Fortune Bay west
to Cape Ray, as well as the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon. To encourage
British fishermen to expand into the region and to exploit the wealth of
resources believed to be there, the British government authorized
two separate surveys of the south coast between 1714 and 1716. William
Taverner, a Newfoundland planter and merchant, surveyed the resources and
people of the region from Placentia Bay west for the British Board of Trade;
Lieutenant John Gaudy conducted a
cartographic survey of the region for the British Admiralty in 1716,
beginning at St. Pierre.
Both surveys revealed that a number of the original French inhabitants
had chosen to remain in the region rather than shift their residence to the
island of Cape Breton, where France was establishing the new fishing colony
of Ile Royale. Taverner also showed that St. Pierre continued to serve the
region west of Placentia Bay as a social and commercial centre. He described
St. Pierre as:
a considerable Place of Trade, especially about Michmas
[September 29] where all the Planters & Servants from the Bay de
Espère, Capnigro, Grand Bank, Fortune, Courbin &c. bring in
their Furrs and Summers Fish to sell for purchasing their Winters
Provisions and necessarys.
For the first few years of British control, ships from Saint Mâlo continued
to appear at St. Pierre. But such trade was illegal and soon faded away.
Contributing to the disappearance of the French merchants was the gradual
appearance of English and Anglo-American merchants, who established
commercial premises on the islands. A number of merchants owned houses,
storehouses, stages and fishing facilities in St. Pierre by the 1760s, while
the island of Miquelon was granted in its entirety to a Massachusetts
resident in 1722. He later sold the island to two New Hampshire men during
© 2001, Olaf Uwe Janzen.