The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume II

     [25 April, 1763.]

Instructions for proceeding wth the Antelope & Spy Sloop to Newfoundland & for commandg in chief there.

On the coast of Labrador, between Belleisle, and the River St Johns, and round the Island of Anticoste.

     [2 May, 1763.]

Between Cape Ray and Cape Race.

Between Cape Race and Carpoon.

In the Straits of Belleisle, and thence along the West Coast of Cape Ray.

With t he fishing vessels on the Grand Bank, on the East side of the Island.

Pool, Topsham

p. 406                                JOINT

No. 93.


Vide Vol. I., page 149.

No. 94.                                          C




ADM. SEC. OUT LETTERS.     VOL. 90, pp. 174-184.
By &ca.

    Whereas we have appointed His Majesty's Ship Antelope under your Command together with the Ships and Sloop named in the Margin for Convoy and Protection of the fishing Ships bound this Year to and from Newfoundland, You will receive herewith for your Information Copies of the Instructions We have give to the Commanders of the Pearl, Tweed, Terpsichore, Lark, and Tamer Sloop for proceeding immediately to different parts of that Island as mentioned against their Names, and for following your Orders upon your Arrival there; And We having also directed the Commander of the Spy Command, and to cause the best dispatch to be used in getting the Antelope, and the said Sloop, ready for Service, agreeable to the directions We have already given; And then you are to put to Sea with them, taking particular care to do so without a moments [sic] loss of time, and proceed down the Channel, calling off the several Ports named in the Margin for any Ships or Vessels that may be ready to accompany you, without staying for others that may not be so, And then you are without loss of Time to go on to Newfoundland, and having seen the Trade as near the Land as you shall think proper for their Security you are to proceed with the Antelope and Spy Sloop in such manner as you shall judge best for the Service in the Execution of these Instructions.


    And Whereas you have received His Majesty's Commission appointing you Governor and Commander in Chief in and over the Island of Newfoundland, the Coast of Labrador and the Entrance of Hudson's Streights to the River St Johns, the Island of Anticosti, Madelaine &ca: and of all the Forts and Garrisons erected, or that shall be erected in the said Islands or on the said Coast: And also his Majesty's Instructions for your Government therein; You are to take particular care to act in all respects conformable to what is required by the said Commission and Instructions, and any other Instructions

p. 407

that you may receive from His Majesty relating to the aforesaid Island of Newfoundland, taking care to prevent all illegal Trade, during your continuing on that Coast, and also to secure the Fishery and Island from Piratical Ships or Vessels, and if any such there shall be, you are to use your utmost care to take or destroy them wherever you can meet with them.


    You are agreeable to an Act of Parliament of the 10th & 11th Years of King William the Third, entituled an Act to encourage the Trade to Newfoundland (which you will receive herewith) to be aiding and Assisting to the Admirals, Vice Admirals and Rear Admirals, of the respective Ports & Harbours of Newfoundland, from time as need shall require, in preserving the Peace and good Government among the Seamen and Fishermen, and in apprehending Offenders.


    You are to be careful that there be not taken into the Ships under your Command to be transported to Newfoundland, any Seamen or others than such as do belong to them, and as you are not to lend any of the Ship's Companys to any of the Fishing Ships, so neither are you to suffer to be taken on board them, any sort of Fish either by way of Merchandize, Freight or otherwise, excepting what shall be necessary for the Use and Spending of the Ships Companys.


    And Whereas the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations have represented to us, that it is very prejudicial to this Kingdom, that the fishing Ships do not bring home from Newfoundland the Complement of men they carry out, many of them being enticed away to New England and others left in the Country; for which reason they have desired We should give you directions to signify to the Masters of all British Ships at Newfoundland, that they take care to bring home the Number of Men they carry out (except in case of Death) for that otherwise they will be prosecuted at their return; you are to let the Masters know the same accordingly, and to use your best endeavours to oblige them thereto, as far as in you lies.


    And Whereas no Foreign Ships or Vessels whatever, except as in hereinafter-mentioned, have any right to Fish at or about Newfoundland, and the Commanders of the Ships of War bound as Convoy thither have at all times past been directed, not to allow of their fishing in those Parts; It is therefore His Majesty's Pleasure that you take especial care to prevent the same, and that his Orders given herein be strictly complied with, and if you shall meet with any Foreign Ships fishing at or about Newfoundland, you are to oblige them to desist and depart from off the Coast, excepting Ships &

p. 408

Vessels belonging to the Subjects of His Most Christian majesty, fishing agreeably to the 13th Article of the Treaty of Peace concluded with France at Utrect in the year 1713, and to the 4th 5th and 6th Articles of the Treaty of Peace concluded at Paris the 10th day of February, 1763, Copies of which you will receive herewith.


    And Whereas, by the said Articles of the Treaty of Paris, it is stipulated that the Province of Canada with all it's [sic] Dependencies, as well as the Island of Cape Breton, and all the other Islands & Coasts in the Gulph and River of Saint Lawrence, and all that depends upon them, shall belong to the Crown of Great Britain, but that the Subjects of France shall have the liberty of catching and drying their Fish upon a part of the Coast of Newfoundland only, to wit from Cape Bonavist[sic] to the Northward and as far as Point Riche, but not to remain there beyond the time necessary for that purpose, agreeable to the said 13th Article of the Treaty of Utrecht, by which the property of the whole Island of Newfoundland is ceded to Great Britain; And His Majesty has by the said fifth Article of the Treaty of Paris consented to leave to the Subjects of the Most Christian King, the liberty of fishing in the Gulph of Saint Lawrence, upon condition that they do not exercise the said Fishery, but at the distance of three Leagues from all the Coasts belonging to Great Britain, as well those of the Continent as those of the Islands situated in the Gulph of Saint Lawrence, and as to the Fishery out of the said Gulph, it is thereby stipulated that the Subjects of the Most Christian King shall not be permitted to exercize the said Fishery but at the distance of Fifteen Leagues from the Coasts of Nova Scotia or Acadia, and everywhere else out of the said Gulph, shall remain upon the footing of the former Treaties; you are therefore to use your utmost care, diligence and Attention, that the several Stipulations hereinbefore-mentioned be duly & strictly performed, according to the Tenor and Intention thereof, as far as they shall come within the limits of your Command.


    And you are to exert your best endeavours to encourage and support the Whale Fishery, in the Straits of Belleisle and more particularly the Fishery in York Harbour and on the other parts of the Coasts of Labrador and to hinder any Trade and Intercourse being carried on by any Persons whatever other than the Subjects of Great Britain, with the Inhabitants of that Country, which of right belongs solely to His Majesty; And you are likewise to protect the Salmon and Seal fishery along the Coasts, and likewise the Fisheries carried on by His Majesty's Subjects in the Gulph of Saint Lawrence, near the Islands of Madelaine &ca: and to settle and guard the Fishery not only at Placentia and Saint Johns, but as far to the Northward upon the Coasts of Newfoundland, and upon those of the Continent of Labrador, as His Majesty's Subjects shall be employed in catching and drying Fish, taking care to prevent the Subjects of France from giving them

p. 409

any disturbance by Acts of Violence, or Injustice, or by any evasion contrary to the Spirit and Intention of the said Treaties; And also to prevent the French from catching or drying their Fish, except within the distances and and[sic] in the manner beforementioned.


    You are at the same time to be careful that the Subjects of His Most Christian Majesty be permitted quietly and peaceably to enjoy the privilege of fishing in the Gulph of Saint Lawrence with the distance hereinbefore-mentioned, and of catching and drying fish on that part of the Coast of Newfoundland allowed by the Treaty of Utrecht and confirmed by the Articles of the Treaty of Paris beforementioned, but not to remain there beyond the time necessary for this purpose; And you are to use your best endeavours to prevent His Majesty's Subjects from giving them any Disturbance by Acts of Violence, or Injustice, or by any evasion contrary to the Spirit and Intention of the said Treaties.


    And in order that this Service may be more effectually performed, We have directed the Commanders of the Four Ships and Sloops named in the margin at the beginning of these Instructions to proceed upon the Stations thereinmentioned; and have ordered such of them whose Stations will allow of it, carefully to visit the several Harbours, Coasts, and Fishing Grounds, as well those upon the Coasts of Newfoundland, as those upon the Coasts of Labrador, and to the Northward, with directions to them to prevent the French from drying their Fish or settling thereon, otherwise than as is hereinbeforementioned between Cape Bonavista, and Point Riche, or to fish nearer than the distances allowed by the beforementioned Treaties: and at the same time We have ordered them to make Charts of all the said Coasts, with Drafts of the Harbours, noting the Depths of Water, Conveniences for fishing and whatever Observations may occur worthy of our knowledge, which are to be transmitted by them to you, that they may be laid before us; all of which you are to take care they punctually comply with, unless from unforseen Events, you shall find it absolutely necessary for the King's Service to employ them in any other manner, which you are at liberty to do, but will be responsible to us for your Conduct therein; And We expect that each of them should give us as exact and satisfactory information upon the several heads hereinbeforementioned as they can possibly procure, for which purpose notwithstanding the Stations allotted to them, you are at liberty to employ any of them, as far as it is consistent with the protection of the fishery, in such manner and on such part of the Coasts beforementioned as will best enable them to comply with Our Instructions on this Subject; and you are yourself, if practicable, to visit your duty will admit of in the Course of the Seasons, that you may compare the Reports made to you with your own Observations,

p. 410

    And Whereas by the Twenty fourth Article of the said Treaty of Paris (Copy of which you will also receive herewith) possession of the Island of Saint Peters and Miquelon is to be given up to France at the end of three Months after the exchange of the Ratifications of the said Treaty you are therefore to Assist as far as shall be necessary, in delivering up the same, and bringing His Majesty's Subjects and their effects, if there are any in those Islands, to Newfoundland, and in case any endeavours shall be used to carry on an Illicit Trade from the said Islands of St Peters & Miquilon[sic], with the Island of Newfoundland, or with any other part of His Majesty's Dominions in North America, you are to be particularly attentive to the same, and prevent (if possible) all communication whatever between the said Islands of Saint Peters and Miquelon, and any part of His Majesty's Dominions in North America.


    When the early Trade shall be ready about the latter end of August, you are to order One of the Frigates to take them under Convoy, and proceed off Cape Finisterre, where he is to leave those bound to the Ports of the North Coast of Spain, and proceed off the Coasts of Portugal with the rest, calling at Lisbon for any Trade that may be ready in Ten days, beyond which time, She is upon no Account to tarry there, and is then to proceed to Sea with such as may be ready and accompany them to the Downes and remain there for farther Orders.


    Whenever the Service will admit of it, you are to dispatch the Terpsichore to the Mediterranean, to follow the Orders of the Commanding Officer of His Majesty's Ships there; and to send home the other Frigates and Sloops, ordering their Commanders to proceed to Spithead, and to take with them any Trade ready, and desirous to accompany them.


    By the end of October you are to take under your Convoy the Fishing Ships which may then be bound to Portugal and Spain, and seeing them off their respective Ports as far to the Southward as Cadiz, You are at liberty to tarry there ten days (but on no Account to exceed that time) and then put to Sea with any Trade that may be there, for which you are not to tarry at farthest above Eight days, and then make the best of your way with any Trade ready to proceed with you to the Downes where you are to remain for farther Order.
    Given &ca this 2d May 1763.

        THOS PITT.
Captn Graves — Antelope — Plymouth.
By &ca P.S.



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