The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume II

    [30th May,





p. 521                                           C

No. 126.




ADM. SEC. 2.  VOL. 107.
By &c.  

    Whereas you have already detached His Majesty's Ships named in the Margin (part of those put under your command) with the early convoys to Newfoundland, pursuant to Our Orders. And Whereas we intend that you shall proceed thither yourself as soon as possible in the Portland accompanied by the Cygnet Sloop; You are hereby required and directed, when that Sloop arrives at Spithead, to put to Sea with the very first opportunity of Wind & Weather & proceed on your Voyage to that Island, calling off the several Ports named in the Margin in your way down Channel, for any Fishing Ships or Vessels bound the same way, which may be ready & whose Masters may be willing to accompany you, and taking them under your convoy, proceed to the Grand Bank, in the Latitude of 46° 30", where you are to leave such of the said Fishing Ships whose Masters may be inclined to begin the Fishery, And also the Cygnet Sloop, with Orders to her Commander to Cruize on the said Bank, & to use his best Endeavours to take or destroy any Ships or Vessels belonging to France or French Subjects or to the rebellious Colonies of North America which may resort thither, either for the purpose of Fishing or Trading, or for annoying & disturbing the Fishery, continuing on that Service three Weeks, or longer if you shall judge it necessary, & then to execute such further Orders as you shall think fit to give him.

    You are in the Portland to go on to St Johns calling in your way at Renouse, Ferriland, & the Bay of Bulls, in order to obtain intelligence & to give such protection & Assistance to His Majestys Subjects on that part of the Coast as they may stand in need of, And you are then to proceed yourself & to dispose of the Ships & Vessels abovementioned as well as those named in the inclosed List (which were left at Newfoundland last Year by Vice Admiral Montagu & which you are to take under your command in such manner as you shall, judge best for carrying into execution the following Instructions, Vizt

p. 522

    Whereas you have received His Majestys Commission appointing you Governor & Commander in Chief in, & over, the Island of Newfoundland, & of the Islands of Madelaine in the Gulf of St Lawrence, & of all the Forts & Garrisons erected and Established in the said Islands, and also His Majestys 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 & Instructions, & any other Instructions you may receive from His Majesty relative to the aforesaid Island of Newfoundland or any other parts within the limits of your command, taking care to prevent all illegal Trade during your continuance on that Station, & also to secure & protect the Fisheries & Coasts from any attempts which may be made upon them by any Ships or Vessels belonging to the French King or His Subjects, or the Rebellious Colonies of North America, which you are to use your utmost endeavours to take or destroy./

same as 2
  to Rear Admiral Robert Duff, ante page 497.

    And whereas no foreign Ships or Vessels whatever have any Right to Fish at or about Newfoundland, & 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 & depart from off the Coast.

    You are to settle and Guard the Fishery, not only at Placentia and St Johns, but as far to the Northward, upon the Coasts of Newfoundland & upon those of the Continent of Labradore, as your Command extends. And to exert your best endeavours to encourage & support the Whale Fishery in the Straits of Bell Isle, the Cod Fishery in York Harbour, & on the other parts of the Coast of the above mentioned Continent, as also the Seal, Sea Cow & Salmon Fisheries on the said Coast; And to hinder any Trade or intercourse being carried on by any persons whatsoever, other than the Subjects of Great Britain, with the Inhabitants of that Country, which of Right belongs Solely to His Majesty. And whereas the Coast of Labradore & the Islands adjacent, have by a late Act of Parliament, been re-annexed to the Province of Quebec; And His Majesty hath, by His Instructions to the Governour of that Province dated the 3d Jany 1775 signified to him

p. 523

that the Fisheries on the said Coasts & Islands are Objects of the greatest importance not only on account of the Commodities they produce, but, also as Nurseries of Seamen, upon whom the Strength of His Kingdoms depend; that Justice & Clemency demand that the real & actual property of the Canadian Subjects on that Coast (whose Claims however extend but to a small District, on the greatest part of which, a Cod Fishery is stated to be impracticable) should be preserved entirely, & that they should not be molested or hinderd in the exercise of any Sedentary Fisheries they may have established there; and that on all such parts of the Coast where there are no Canadian possessions, and more especially where a valuable Cod Fishery may be carried on it will be his Duty to make the Interest of the British Subjects going out to fish there in Ships fitted out from Great Britain, the first Object of his Care, & as far as circumstances will admit, to establish on that Coast the Regulations in favour of British Fishing Ships which have been so wisely adopted by the before mentioned Act of the 10th & 11th of King William the third ; And that he is on no account to allow any Possession to be taken, or sedentary Fisheries to be established, on any part of the Coast that are not already private property, by any Persons whatsoever except only such as shall produce Annually a Certificate of their having fitted out from some Port in Great Britain. You are therefore in pursuance of His Majesty's Pleasure signified to Us, by Lord Dartmouth in his Letter of the 28th April 1775 to make these Fisheries particular Objects of your attention & enquiry; affording them every reasonable & necessary Protection & transmitting to Us, for His Majestys Information the fullest Report of the State & Condition & progress thereof.

    The Society of Unitas Fratrum, urged by a laudable zeal for promoting Christianity having already, under His Majestys Protection, & with His Permission, formed Establishments in the Northern parts of the Coast of Labradore for the purposes of Civilizing the Savages, & converting them to the Christian Religion in which their success has been answerable to their Zeal; And His Majesty having signified His express Will and Pleasure to the Governour of Quebec, that he do give them every countenance & Assistance in his power & not allow any Establishment to be made but with their Consent within the Limits of their Possessions. You are in pursuance of His Majestys further pleasure signified to Us by Lord Dartmouth in his Letter before mentioned, to give such support and Protection to the Establishment of the said Society as shall correspond with His Majestys most gracious intentions to them.

    Besides the Superintendance & regulations of the Fisheries of the Island of Newfoundland, & the Coast of Labradore abovementioned, you are, in pursuance of His Majestys Pleasure signified to Us by Lord George Germain one of His Principal Secretaries of State in his Letter of the 23d of February

p. 524

1776 to afford every Protection in your power to those which are carried on in the Gulph of St Lawrence within the limits of your command, & also upon the Islands in that Gulf, & to keep Cruizers constantly employed on that Service, taking particular care that no Vessels belonging to any of the Associated Colonies be permitted to fish or carry on any Trade or Commerce in those Seas, & that every effort be made to take or destroy any such, as also any Piratical Armed Vessels which may be fitted out by the Rebels with a view to disturb the British Fisheries & intercept defenceless Vessels in their passage to Quebec; And you are to take particular care that the Sea Cow Fisheries, which have been or may be, established on the Islands of Madelaine &c. by His Majesty's Subjects, be not disturbed by the Crews of any Ships or Vessels whatever destroying those Animals in the Water, or by any means deterring them from the usual places of landing, disposing of some of the Ships or Vessels under your command in such manner as shall best serve for that purpose, without prejudice to the more material parts of the important Service committed to your Care.

    And, in order that these Services may be more effectually performed, you are to assign to the several Ships & Vessels under your command such Stations on the Coast of Newfoundland & Labradore, including the Islands of Madelaine & Antcosti in the Gulph of St Lawrence as shall be most proper, giving to their respective Commanders full & clear Instructions on the several points herein before mentioned conformable to the for-going Articles of these Our Instructions to yourself. And directing them also, very carefully to visit the several Coasts, Harbours, & Fishing Grounds, within the limits of their respective Stations, and to make Charts of the parts of the Coasts, and Draughts of such of the Harbours as have not already been Surveyed, Noting the depths of Water conveniency for fishing, & whatever Observations occur worthy our knowledge; which are to be transmitted to you to be laid before Us. And you are Yourself if practicable, to visit such parts of the said Coasts &c, as your necessary attention to the brances* of your Duty will admit of* in the course of the Season, that you may compare the Reports made to you, with your own observations, before you transmit them to Us.

    When the early Trade shall be ready about the latter end of August you are to appoint two Frigates, or one Frigate & a Sloop as you shall Judge most proper, to take them under Convoy, & proceed off Cape Finisterre; when the Senior Officer *Officer is to direct the other to see the Trade bound into the Bay to the Ports of their destination & afterwards repair to Spithead; the Senior Officer himself proceeding off the Coast of Portugal with the rest, calling at Lisbon for any homeward bound Trade that may be ready, & after a stay there, not exceeding Eight days at farthest, making the best of his way to Spithead with such as may be willing to accompany him.

p. 525

    Towards the end of October you are to appoint a proper Convoy to the, Fishing Ships which may then be bound to Portugal & Spain; instructing the Senior Officer to see them in safety off the Ports to which they are respectively destined as far to the Southward as Cadiz. And in case there are at that Port any homeward bound Trade ready & willing to accompany him You will direct him to take them under his Care, & putting to Sea with the first Opportunity of Wind & Weather proceed to Lisbon, where he is in like manner to take under his care such Trade as may be homeward bound, and after a Stay not exceeding Eight Days at most, leave that Port & make the best of his way with all the said Trade to England, seeing them in safety as far as their way & his may lie together, & repairing himself with such other Ship or Ships of your Squadron as may be with him to Spithead for further Orders.

    In pursuance of the Kings pleasure signified to Us by the Earl of Rochford, late one of His Majestys principal Secretaries of State in his Letter of the 30th August 1771 (a Copy of which as well as of the 16th Article of the Treaty of 1667 which accompanied it, you will receive herewith) you are to give the Strictest Orders to the respective Captains & Commanders of the Ships & Vessels under your command, who may be sent to the Coast of Spain, to take especial care to conform themselves, in going into, & remaining in the Ports of that Kingdom to the Treaties subsisting between the two Crowns.

    You are, by the end of October to quit the Coast of Newfoundland & return to Spithead with such of the Ships & Vessels of your Squadron as have not been detached with Convoys except the Armed Vessels, Schooners & Shallops which (with one of the Sloops or more if you shall judge it necessary) are to be left at Newfoundland during the Winter, at such place or places as you shall judge best, with Orders to their Commanders to get them equipt in the Spring as early as possible, & to exert their best endeavours for the protection of the Coast from any attempts of the Rebels, or others until you return, assigning them such Stations & giving them such Instructions as you shall think most likely to answer that purpose. And you are to take under your Convoy any homeward bound Trade that may be ready & willing to accompany you, & to see them in safety as far as their way & your way lies together.

    In case you shall at any time find that a greater number of Ships & Vessels than those which may be under your command shall be necessary to enable you to execute the Service on which you are employed you are to apply to Vice Admiral Arbuthnot or the Commander in Chief for the time being of



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