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INSTRUCTIONS PASSED UNDER THE ROYAL SIGN MANUAL AND SIGNET FOR ROBERT DUFF,
AS GOVERNOR AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF IN AND OVER THE ISLAND OF NEWFOUNDLAND.
C.O. 5, VOL. 206, NO 5.
Instructions to Our Trusty and Wellbeloved Robert Duff Esquire, Rear Admiral of the Blue, our Governor and Commander in Chief in, and over Our Island of Newfoundland in America, and of the Islands of Madelaine in the Gulph of St Lawrence; as also of all our Forts and Garrisons erected, and established, or that shall be erected, and established in Our said Islands of Newfoundland and Madelaine. Given at Our Court at St James's the twenty first day of April 1775, in the Fifteenth Year of Our Reign.
First, With these Our Instructions you will receive Our Commission under Our Great Seal of Great Britain, constituting you Our Governor and Commander in Chief in, and over Our Island of Newfoundland in America, and of the Islands of Madelaine in the Gulph of St Lawrence, as also of all Our Forts and Garrisons erected, and established, or that shall be erected and established in Our said Islands, with Directions to obey such Orders and Instructions, as shall from time to time be given You under Our Signet and Sign Manual, or by Our Order in Our Privy Council, You are therefore to fit your self with all convenient Speed, and to repair to your said Command; and being arrived, you are to take upon you the execution of the place and Trust We have reposed in you, and, as soon as conveniently maybe, to assemble the principal Inhabitants in the Island of Newfoundland, and in such other places, as you shall judge proper or necessary within your said Government, and, with all due Solemnity, to cause Our said Commission under Our Great Seal of Great Britain, constituting you Our Governor and Commander in Chief, as aforesaid, to be read and published at such meetings.
2. Whereas by Our former Instructions to Our Governors of Newfoundland, We have thought fit to direct, that in all things regarding the Fishery, which the subjects of France were by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, and that of Paris in 1763, allowed to carry on upon those parts of the Coast of Newfoundland, which stretch from the place, called Bona-vista, to the Northern
point of the said Island, and from thence running down by the Western side, reach as far as the place, called Point Riche, they should conform themselves with great care and attention, and with Justice to the Subjects of both Crowns, as well to the Stipulations contained in the said Treaties, as to the Provisions contained in the Statute of 10th and 11th of William 3d C. 25; In order therefore for the better explanation of Our Royal Intentions therein, and to manifest Our firm Resolution to preserve the said Treaties inviolable; to secure to the Subjects of France the full possession and enjoyment of the Fishery thereby stipulated to be allowed to them within the limits aforesaid; and to Our Own Subjects their respective Rights and Privileges, and to prevent any disputes, which may arise between between[sic] Our Subjects, and the Subjects of France carrying on the Fishery within the said limits, It is Our express Will and Pleasure, and We do hereby strictly require and enjoin, that you do immediately, upon your arrival within your said Government, give the most full and positive Orders and Injunctions to all Officers under your Command, and in a particular manner to the Admirals in the several Harbours, that they do not in their several Stations, and as far as depends upon each respectively, permit or allow, that any Obstructions or Interruptions be upon any pretence given to the Subjects of France in the enjoyment of that Fishery, which is allowed them by the Stipulations of the said Treaties in common with Our Subjects; and that they do give them all reasonable countenance and protection therein.
3. And whereas it is of great importance to the Interest, Peace, and Tranquillity as well of Our Crown, as that of France, that the said Treaties should be faithfully executed according to the true intent and meaning thereof; all disputes between the Subjects of both nations avoided; and the Fishery within the limits aforesaid amicably carried on between the two Nations according to Treaties; We do therefore particularly command and require, that the Admirals of the several Harbours upon the Coast, whereon the Subjects of France are by the said Treaties allowed to catch Fish, to dry them on Land; and to erect Stages made of Boards and Huts necessary for that purpose, to take the most exact and particular care, that the said subjects of France be permitted and allowed, in common with Our Subjects, to chuse their Stations there during the Fishing Season, according as they shall respectively arrive in the said Harbours, and to occupy such a space of Beach, as shall be proportioned to their Number of Boats, so long as the said Subjects of France shall be actually employed in fishing and drying Fish, agreeably in these respects to the Treaties of Utrecht, and Paris, and the established practice in consequence thereof; and in case any dispute or difference shall arise between Our Subjects and the Subjects of France, touching these matters, We do expressly Will and Ordain, that the said Admirals shall, in the decision of such dispute, proceed with the strictest Justice and impartiality, taking care upon all occasions of such dispute, that the Subject-matter in question, and all proceedings and judgments thereon, be taken down in writing, and transmitted by such Admirals, duly authenticated, to you or the Commander
in Chief for the time being; in order that the Judgment or Decree of such Admirals may be confirmed or annulled by you, or the said Commander in Chief, as the Justice of the case shall require, and the Law shall allow; and, in either case, you or the said Commander in Chief shall certify your or his decision to such Admiral, to the end that the same may be duly executed.
4. It is nevertheless Our express Will and Pleasure, that the said Admirals in the respective Harbours shall not, upon any pretence whatever, presume to interfere or interpose their Authority in any disputes or difference, which may arise between one Subject of France and another concerning their Fishery.
5. And it is Our further Will and Pleasure, that the said Subjects of France, carrying on their Fishery within the Limits aforesaid according to the said Treaties, shall not in any wise or upon any pretence whatsoever be molested or disturbed in their Persons, Properties, or Effects.
6. And whereas it hath been represented unto Us, that several Boats belonging to the Subjects of France, and which, on their departing from the Coast, have been left in the several Harbours on that part of the Coast, whereon the said Subjects of France were permitted to Fish, have been at different times burnt and destroyed by the Commanders of some of Our Ships stationed upon the said Coast; and it appearing to Us, that such proceeding is inconsistent with that Harmony and good understanding, which We wish to see preserved between the two Nations; it is therefore Our express Will and Pleasure, and you are hereby strictly enjoined and required to forbid all such practices and proceedings for the future.
7. And it is Our further Will and Pleasure, that the Rules, Regulations and Orders, contained in the foregoing Instructions, be made publick, as soon as possible after your Arrival in your Government, and be fixed up in some conspicuous and well-frequented place in every Harbour within the Limits aforesaid, to the end that not only Our Subjects, but also those of the Crown of France, may be fully informed of Our Royal Intention and directions herein.
8. And it is Our further Will and Pleasure, that you do by every opportunity, that shall offer, or as soon as possible after your return to this Kingdom, transmit to Us, by one of Our principal Secretaries of State, an account of all your proceedings, and of all such orders, judgments, and decrees, as you shall have made in pursuance of these Our Instructions.
9. And whereas by the said Fifth Article of the Treaty concluded at Paris, We have consented to leave to the Subjects of the most Christian King the Liberty of Fishing in the Gulph of St Lawrence, on condition that the Subjects of France 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 said Gulph of St Lawrence, you are hereby required to carry the Stipulations of the said Clauses into full Execution within the Limits of your Government.
10. You are to use your best endeavours to prevent any Aliens or Strangers whatever from fishing, or drying Fish on any of the Coasts, or in any of the Harbours of the Islands under your Government, unless in the Exceptions made by the Thirteenth Article of the Treaty of Utrecht, and the Fifth Article of the late definitive Treaty, confined to the Subjects of France, permitted to Fish within the District and Limits marked out by those Treaties, and under the several Restrictions specified in the Articles themselves; and whereas it hath been represented unto Us, that foreigners are sharers in the Fishery and Commerce of Our said Island, by being part-Owners of Ships employed therein under English. names, by means whereof the said Ships are supplied from foreign Countries with all kinds of materials, as well for the use of the Fishery, as for the use of the said Vessels; It is therefore Our Will and Pleasure, that you do make the most diligent enquiry into the nature and extent of such illicit practice, and unwarrantable combination, and report to Us by one of Our principal Secretaries of State, the result of your enquiry, in order to such further directions, as We may think fit to give thereupon; And in the meantime you are to use your best endeavours to put a Stop to such unlawful proceedings, and to take the most effectual measures for the discovery and prevention of all illicit and contraband Trade of every kind.
11. And whereas, by the Sixth Article of the said Treaty concluded at Paris, a copy of which Article is hereunto annexed, the Islands of St Peter and Miquelon are ceded to France, to serve as a shelter to the French Fishermen, His most Christian Majesty engaging not to fortify the said Islands; to erect no buildings upon them, but merely for the convenience of the Fishery; and to keep upon them a Guard of fifty Men only for the Police; you are therefore from time to time to enquire, and report to Us, by one of Our principal Secretaries of State, whether the Stipulations contained in the said Article be duly observed; And you are to use your best endeavours to prevent any Commerce between Our Subjects under your Government, and the said Islands, by means whereof the Inhabitants of those Islands may have the double advantage of getting easily and cheaply the materials for building Vessels, and erecting Houses and Works necessary for the Fishery and of circulating French Produce and Manufactures amongst the British Fishermen.
12. It is Our further Will and Pleasure, that you do from time to time, as the nature of the Service will allow, visit all the Coasts and Harbours of the said Islands under your Government, in order to inspect and examine the State and Condition of the Fisheries, which are, or may be carried on upon the said Coasts and Islands; you shall also use your best endeavours to procure accurate Draughts or Maps of the several Harbours, Bays, and Coasts of Newfoundland, and the other Islands under your Government; and you are more particularly to direct the Officer of any Vessel under your command, which may be appointed to visit that part of the Coast of Labrador, which lies between Hudson's Streights, and the Streights of Bellisle, to search and explore the great Inlet, commonly known by the name of Davis's Inlet,
in order to discover, whether the same has, or has not any passage to Hudson's Bay, or any other inclosed Sea.
13. You are also to enquire and report to Us, by one of Our principal Secretaries of State, whether any, or what further Establishment may be necessary to be made, or Forts erected in any part of Newfoundland, or the other Islands under your Government, either for the protection of the Fishery, the Security of the Country, or the establishing and carrying on a Commerce with the Indians residing in or resorting to the said Islands.
14. You are not to permit the Subjects of any Foreign Prince or State whatever to carry on any Commerce with the said Indians; and to use your best endeavours to conciliate their Affections, and to induce them to Trade with Our Subjects, reporting to Us, by one of Our principal Secretaries of State, the best account you can obtain of the number of the said Indians; the places they frequent; the nature and extent of the Commerce, that is, or may be carried on with them; and how the same may, in your opinion, be further extended and improved.
15. And whereas we have been informed, that a very considerable and advantageous Whale and Sea Cow Fishery may be carried on in the Gulph of St Lawrence, and upon the Labrador Coast; It is therefore Our Will and Pleasure, that you do give all possible encouragement to such Fishery, and report to Us, by one of Our principal Secretaries of State, your opinion, in what way, and by what means so valuable a Branch of Commerce may be extended and improved.
16. You are also to make a very particular enquiry into, and report to Us, as aforesaid, the actual State and Nature of the Fisheries carried on by the Subjects of France in every distinct Branch thereof, as well that which is carried on for Morne Verte upon the Banks without the Gulph of St Lawrence, as the dry Fishery carried on at Miquleon and St Peters' upon the Coast of Newfoundland from Bonavista to Point Riche, or in other parts of the Gulph of St Lawrence; and you are to be as particular as may be in your accounts of the Number and Nature of the Ships and Boats employed in those different Fisheries; the number of Men; the Quantity of Fish catched, cured, and carried to Market; and in general of every other Circumstance, that may furnish a precise State of this Branch of the Commerce of France.
17. You shall strictly enjoin all Our Officers, and Soldiers, and other persons whatsoever belonging to the present and future Garrisons in Newfoundland, and the other Islands and Territories under Your Government, not to engage in the Fishery there, nor interrupt the Fishermen in the curing of their Fish, nor to take up for themselves any Beaches, Stages, or Cookrooms upon any pretence whatsoever upon pain of Our highest Displeasure.
18. And you are particularly to suppress the engrossing of Commodities, as tending to the prejudice of the Fishery, and the persons employed therein.