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INSTRUCTIONS PASSED UNDER THE ROYAL SIGN MANUAL AND SIGNET FOR JOHN ELLIOT
AS GOVERNOR AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF IN AND OVER THE ISLAND OF NEWFOUNDLAND.
C.O. 195. VOL. 11.
INSTRUCTIONS to Our Trusty and Welbeloved John Campbell Esqr, 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 Saint 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 Saint James's the Second day of June 1786, in the Twenty Sixth 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 Saint Lawrence, as also of all Our Forts and Garrisons erected and established in our said Islands, with directions to obey and follow such Orders and Instructions as shall front 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 yourself 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 may be to assemble the principal Inhabitants of the Island of Newfoundland, and of any other Islands within your Government, as you shall judge necessary, and with all due Solemnity to cause Our said Commission, constituting You Our Governor and Commander in Chief as aforesaid to be read and published at such meeting.
2.—It is Our Will and Pleasure, that you do from time to time, as the nature of the Service will admit, visit all the Coasts and Harbours of the 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 procure accurate Draughts or Maps of the several, Harbours, Bays, and Coasts of Newfoundland if the same have
not already been obtained, and you are particularly to direct the Officer which may be appointed to visit that part of the Coast of Labrador which is between Hudsons Streights and the Streights of Bell'isle 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 Hudsons Bay, or any other inclosed Sea; and such Officer under your Command who shall visit any part of the said Coast of Labrador, or the Gulph of Saint Lawrence, where any Whale or Sea-Cow Fisheries are carried on, shall be by you directed to enquire and report particularly the State of such Fisheries, by whom the same are carried on, the Supposed produce of them, the number of Vessels employed therein, and such other particulars, as may serve to convey a clear and perfect information of such Fisheries, which Information you are to transmit to us, thro' One of Our Principal Secretaries of State, together with any other Information, which you may obtain on this Subject, and which you shall judge may tend to the extension and improvement thereof.
3.—You are to enquire and report to us, by One of Our Principal Secretaries of State, whether it may be necessary to erect any new Forts or Posts in any part of Newfoundland or the other Islands under your Government, either for the protection of the Fishery, the Security of the Government or the establishing and carrying on a Commerce with the Indians residing in, or resorting to the said Islands; And you are not to permit any Persons whatever, except Our Subjects, to carry on Commerce with the said Indians; and you are to use your best Endeavours to conciliate their Affections, and to induce them to trade with Our Subjects; and in order to prevent any improper Conduct towards the said Indians, It is Our Will and Pleasure that you do, as soon as conveniently may be after your Arrival, cause a Proclamation in Our Name to be published and dispersed through the said Islands, strictly enjoining and requiring all Our Subjects to live in Amity and Kindness with the said Indians; and commanding and requiring all Officers and Magistrates to maintain and support good Order and Behaviour towards them; and in case any Person or Persons shall murder any of the said Indians, to use their utmost Endeavours to discover and apprehend those who shall be guilty of such Murder, that they may be sent over to this Kingdom and tried for such Crime as directed by the Act of the 10th and 11th of King William the Third. It is Our further Will and Pleasure, that you do report to Us, thro' one of Our Principal Secretaries of State, the best Accounts you can obtain of the Number of the said Indians, the places they usually frequent to trade, the nature and extent of the Trade, that is, or may be carried on with them, and how the same may in your Opinion be extended and improved.
4.—Whereas the more effectually to extend, encourage and improve the Fisheries and Commerce of Our said Islands, it is necessary to prevent any Foreigners, from being concerned therein, and especially from being part Owners of or interested in any Vessel or Vessels employed therein, You are therefore to use your utmost endeavours that no such illicit practices be carried on within your Government, and for this purpose you are to be particularly
careful to enforce the several Provisions of the Acts of the l0th and 11th of William the Third, and of the 15th of Our Reign, and of an Act passed in the present Session of Parliament, intituled, "An Act to amend and render more effectual the several Laws now in force for encouraging the Fisheries carried on at Newfoundland, and parts adjacent, from Great Britain, Ireland, and the British Dominions in Europe; and for granting Bounties for a limited time, on certain Terms and Conditions," and of any other Acts of Parliament in force for encouraging the Shipping and Navigation of Great Britain: And you are not to suffer any Foreigners whatsoever to fish, or dry, or cure any Fish, on any of the Coasts, or Shores within the same, except in cases, where by any Treaty subsisting between Great Britain and any Foreign Power, the same shall be allowed and permitted to the Subjects only of such Foreign Powers.
5.—You are not to permit or allow any of Our Officers and Soldiers, or other Persons whatever belonging to the Garrisons at present existing, or which may hereafter exist within your Government to engage in the Fishery directly, or indirectly, or to interrupt the Fishermen in catching, drying, or curing their Fish, or to take up for themselves any Beaches, Stages, or Cook Rooms upon any pretence whatsoever; And if any such Officers, Soldiers, or other Persons, shall act in contradiction to this Our Instruction, you are to report the same to Us, thro' one of Our principal Secretaries of State, that he, or they may be made sensible of Our highest Displeasure.
6.—And whereas the Monopolizing and engrossing of any Provisions, Stores, and Commodities, necessary for the subsistence of the Fishermen and others employed in the Fishery, or for carrying on the same, will be highly prejudicial to the general Interest thereof, you are by every legal means in your power to prevent and suppress any attempt that may be made for that purpose.
7.—And whereas it hath been represented unto us, that divers of Our Subjects have upon various unwarrantable pretences, and under pretended Grants or permissions given by former Governors of Our Island of Newfoundland, possessed themselves of and claim as their private property large Tracts of Land and Beaches commodious for the Fishery upon the Coasts, and within the several Harbours and Rivers of the said Island and the Islands adjacent contrary to Law. In order therefore to prevent such unwarrantable practices in future; It is Our Will and Pleasure that you do not upon any pretence whatsoever allow any Person or Persons to take as private property any Land, Rivers or Islands on the Island of Newfoundland or the Coasts thereof, between Cape Saint John along the Southern Coast of the said Island to Cape Raye on the Westernmost Coast thereof, and you are to take care that the Ancient Ship Rooms and Fishery Rooms do continue under the provisions of the Act of Parliament passed in the 10th and 11th Years of the Reign of King William the Third Cap: 25 for the encouragement of new Adventurers that they may be sure of finding proper and convenient places for curing,
salting, drying and Husbanding their Fish whenever they resort thither. And it is Our further Will and Pleasure that the remaining Shores of Newfoundland shall be held by such of Our Subjects resorting thither from Our Dominions in Europe who shall first arrive and take possession of the same, for the like purpose of carrying on the Fishery in proportion to the number of Ships and Boats they shall employ, and they shall continue to hold the same in like manner and for the like purpose, so long as they shall continue to carry on the Fishery there: But in case they shall neglect so to carry on the Fishery for one entire Season, such shores or parts thereof, which shall be neglected or deserted by such possessors shall be held for the like purpose, and in like manner by any of Our Subjects resorting thither from our Dominions in Europe, who shall first occupy the same for the purpose of carrying on the Fishery, and you are to put and maintain such Persons in possession thereof And you are not to allow or suffer any Buildings to be erected (except Fishing Stages, Cook Rooms, Ship Rooms and Flakes or such erections as shall be absolutely necessary for curing, salting, drying and Husbanding of Fish) within 600 Yards distance from High Water Mark, and you are not to allow any possession, as private property to be taken of, or any right of property whatever acknowledged in any Land whatever even beyond that distance. It is Our further Will and Pleasure nevertheless that all and any Buildings, Erections Wharfs, Slips or Fences already erected may remain, provided the same are not erected or built upon Ancient Ship Rooms or fishing Rooms, and provided they are not in your Judgment considered to be Nuisances and detrimental to the Interest of the Fishery in general: But in case they shall clearly appear to you to be so, You shall cause the same to be removed, giving due and reasonable notice to the parties claiming or pretending any Interest therein if upon the spot, or to the Persons in possession and Occupation thereof, and putting the said Parties or Persons to as little inconvenience as the Case will admit, if such Parties or Persons do not chose to remove the same in due time, after such Notice is given.
8.—You are upon every Occasion to inforce a due and strict Observance within your Government of the beforementioned as well as of all other Acts now in force for the encouragement and regulation of the Trade, and Fisheries of Newfoundland and for the encouragement of the Shipping and Navigation of these Kingdoms.
9.—And whereas the immoderate use of Liquors is pernicious to the Health and Morals of Our Subjects resorting to Newfoundland for the purpose of carrying on the Fishery, and that they are thereby induced to expend therein a considerable part of their Wages, You are therefore to reduce the number of Public Houses in every part of Your Government to so many only as may be absolutely necessary for the Accommodation and supply of Our said Subjects and no more: And in particular you are not to allow of more than* than Twelve such Public Houses in the Town and Harbour of Saint Johns, and you shall take due Care that every Person who shall be allowed to keep a Public House within your Government do give
full and ample Security for his or her good Security, and that no Person whatever be allowed to keep such Public House who does not or shall not keep one fishing Shallop at the least and in order further to encourage the Fishery and that it may be* Interest of every Individual resorting to Our said Islands to promote the same, You are also to take care, that every Person who shall keep on his, her, or their own Account any Shop or Store for Selling or retailing any Goods or Commodities whatsoever, do keep one fishing Shallop at least.
10.—And whereas the different Species of Birds frequenting the Shore of Newfoundland and the adjacent Islands are useful not only by their being a warning in Fogs to vessels that they are near the Land but upon many Occasions for Food and Bait, and it having been represented to us that they are frequently destroyed for the purpose only of taking their Feathers; It is Our Will and Pleasure that you do take such measures as in your Opinion will effectually prevent their being so destroyed in future.
11.—It being our intention that all Persons inhabiting and frequenting Our Islands under your Government, should have full liberty of Conscience, and the free Exercise of all such Modes of Religious Worship as are not prohibited by Law, We do hereby require you to permit all Persons within Our said Islands to have such liberty and to exercise such Modes of Religious Worship as are not prohibited by Law, provided they be contented with a quiet and peaceable Enjoyment of the same not giving Offence or Scandal to Government.
to Rear Admiral Robert Duff, ante p.484.
15.—If any circumstance shall happen which shall appear to you immediately to affect the prosperity or security of Our said Islands, which is not herein or by Our Commission provided for, You are hereby allowed to take Order for the present therein, giving to us by One of Our Principal Secretaries of State, speedy Notice thereof, that so you may receive Our Ratification, if We shall approve of the same; Provided always that you do not by Colour of any Power or Authority hereby given you, allow or encourage any thing to be done contrary to the true intent and meaning of the Act of the 10th and 11th of King William the Third, or of any the beforementioned Acts, or of any Act now in force, for the regulation of Trade, Shipping or the Fishery of Newfoundland.
16.—You are carefully and diligently to enquire and observe whether the several provisions of the said Act of the 10th and 11th of King William the Third, or of the beforemeritioned Acts, or of any other Act now in force, for the encouragement and more advantageous management of the Fishery, be duly observed; and whether it may be proper and necessary to make any