p. 386 C
COMMISSIONS AND INSTRUCTIONS TO GOVERNORS OF NEWFOUNDLAND AND INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE ADMIRALTY TO COMMANDERS OF THE KING'S SHIPS.
REPRESENTATION OF THE LORDS OF TRADE
UPON THE ALTERATION AND ADDITIONS EXPEDIENT TO BE MADE IN THE
INSTRUCTIONS TO THE GOVERNOR OF NEWFOUNDLAND IN
CONSEQUENCE OF THE TREATY OF PARIS.
C.O. 194, Vol. 26.
To the King's Most Excellent Majesty.—
May it please your Majesty.
In Obedience to your Majesty Commands signified to Us by the Earl of Egremont, one of your Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State, in his Lordship's Letter of the 8th Instant, We have taken into Our Consideration "the Copies of the 5th & 6th Articles of the Definitive Treaty, relating to the Fishery at Newfoundland, & elsewhere in those Parts, and to the Cession of the Islands of St. Peter & Miquelon; as also an Extract of the 24th Article of the said Treaty, fixing a Time for the Cession of those Islands, and directing Us to lay before your Majesty such Alterations & Additions, as shall appear to Us expedient to be made, to the Instructions given to the Governors of Newfoundland, in order to conform them to the abovementioned Stipulations of the Definitive Treaty" after considering the Subject with that Attention & Exactness which the Nature & Importance of it so highly deserve, We humbly beg Leave to submit Our Opinion to your Majesty both with respect to the Plan of the Instructions, as they are now annually given to the Governor of Newfound-
land and to such Additional Ones as may be thought requisite, from the Provisions, & Acquisitions of the Definitive Treaty.
The Instructions hitherto given to the Governor of Newfoundland have been principally formed upon the Provision of the Statute of the 10th & 11th of William the Third, for regulating this Fishery and the Method prescribed to the Governor, of annually enquiring into, and reporting the State of the Fishery, is so very regular and practicable, that it rather wants to be enforced than changed, and if it be true, as it certainly is, that the Representations of the State of the Fishery have hitherto been imperfect, that Deficiency has arisen more from Circumstances in the Execution of the Plan, than any Defect in the Plan itself.
With respect to the Necessity of any additional Instructions upon which We are directed to give Our Opinion, We beg leave humbly to represent to your Majesty, that Your Subjects employed in the Fishery at Newfoundland, having of late engaged more extensively in the Fishery on the North eastern Part of Newfoundland, upon which Coast the French have also a Right, by the Treaty of Utrecht, to catch and dry Fish during the Season, under certain Restrictions; The great and extensive Whale Fishery in the Streights of Belleisle, with the other Branches of the Salmon & Seal Fishery, attending the Coast from the Mouth of those Streights to the River St. Lawrence, and the Fishery of the River St. Lawrence itself, of Gaspee, of Cançeaux, the Madelain Islands, St. Johns & Cape Breton being now annexed to His Majesty's Dominions by the Definitive Treaty; The general Fishery of Newfoundland, and the Gulf and the Coasts with it is become a Matter of infinite Extent, and of the utmost Importance; at the same time, that the preventing the French from partaking of the Benefit of these Fisheries (they being permitted to come within three Leagues of the Coasts & Islands within the Gulph,) seems to us to make some Additional Measure and Additional Instructions in the Execution of the Definitive Treaty, referred to us, absolutely necessary for the securing the exclusive Possession of these valuable Fisheries to Your Majesty's Subjects.
As to the Concurrent Fishing on the Nº East Coast of Newfoundland, in case any of your Majestys Subjects should engage in it, much will depend upon the Temper, Judgement & Discretion of the Officer of the Navy, who shall be appointed to superintend that Fishery, and who certainly should be instructed to adhere to the due Sense & Execution of the 13th Article of the Treaty of Utrecht with Justice to the Subjects of both Crowns. Upon the Coast of Labrador, it will be impossible to prevent the French continuing to have the full Benefit of their former Commerce with the Indians of that Coast, unless some British Settlement should be made there, or sufficient Cruizers stationed with Instructions to the Commanders to seize all french Ships coming within a certain Distance of that Coast.
The same Observation is equally applicable to all the Coast from the Streights of Belleisle to the River St. Lawrence, from thence along the whole Coast of Canada and Acadia, and the Fisheries annexed to these Coasts which lye within the Gulph, the exclusive Possession of all which Fisheries,
in our Judgement depends upon the Efficacy of whatever Plan shall be now followed, and the additional Instructions which shall be now given by the proper Boards to the proper Officer in the Execution of this great and essential Measure.
The Situation of the Islands of St. Peter & Miquelon, so convenient for carrying on an illicit Trade with North America, calls for particular Caution, and it were earnestly to be wished that the Communication between these Islands & Newfoundland could be prevented, from which the Inhabitants of St. Peter will otherwise receive the double Advantage of getting easily & cheaply the Materials for building their Boats, and of circulating french produce & Manufactures amongst the British Fishermen.
These Points naturally arising out of the Words of the Reference made to us by Your Majesty's Secretary of State, We have presumed to submit to Your Majesty's Consideration without in any Degree taking upon Ourselves actually to prepare any Plan for the Accomplishment of Measures, the grounds of which are so very imperfectly before Us, which, if ever They should take place, must be determined with an Attention to other Measures, and made a Part of one general Plan; The framing which will depend so much upon the united Labor and Experience of different Departments of Government; and the Execution of which will at last depend upon Orders to be issued from other Offices and to Officers not Subject to our Controul.
All which is most humbly submitted
March 15th 1763
Endorsed Copy Representation of the Lords Commrs. for Trade & Plantations upon the Alterations and Additions expedient to be made, in the Govr. of Newfoundland's Instruction in Consequence of the Treaty of Peace.
March 15 1763.