The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume II

[25 May, 1789.]

Instructions for Vice Adml Milbanke as Commander in Chief of His Majesty's Ships & Vessels at Newfoundland.

p. 566                                           C

No. 142.



AD. 2.    VOL. 119.

By &c.          

Instructions for Mark Milbanke Esqr Vice Admiral of the White, &     Commander in Chief of a Squadron of His Majesty's Ships and     Vessels employed, and to be employed, at & about     Newfoundland, the Islands of Madelaine and Anticosti, and     upon the Coast of Labrador, from the River St John, to the     entrance of Hudson's Straits.

    Whereas, you have received the King's Commission appointing you Governor and Commander in Chief in, and over, the Island of Newfoundland, and of the Islands of Madelaine in the Gulph of St Lawrence, and of all the Forts and Garrisons erected and established in the said Islands; and also His Majesty's Instructions for your Government therein; You are to take particular care to act in all respects conformably to what is required by the said Commission and Instructions, and any other Instructions you may receive from His Majesty relating to the aforesaid Island of Newfoundland or any other Parts within the Limits of your Command, doing every thing in your Power to prevent any illegal Trade during your continuance on that Station; and also to secure and protect the Fisheries and Coasts, from piratical Ships or Vessels, which you are to use your utmost endeavours to take or destroy.
 Same as to Commodore Elliot, dated  the 26th May 1786, ante pp. 556, 557.

    And whereas by the 4th 5th & 6th Articles of the firstmentioned Treaty, His Majesty is maintained in His Right to the Island of Newfoundland & to the adjacent Islands, as the whole were assured to him by the 13th Article of the Treaty of Utrecht, excepting the Island of St Pierre and Miquelon,

p. 567

which are ceded in full Right to His Most Christian Majesty, who, in order to prevent the Quarrels which had before arisen, has consented to renounce the Right of Fishing which belonged to him in Virtue of the aforesaid Article of the Treaty of Utrecht, from Cape Bona Vista, to Cape St John, situated on the Eastern Coast of Newfoundland in 50 Degrees North Latitude: And His Majesty has consented on his part, that the Fishery assigned to the Subjects of His Most Christian Majesty, beginning at the said Cape St John, passing to the North & descending by the Western Coast of the Island of Newfoundland, shall extend to the Place called Cape Raye, situated in 47 Degrees 50 Min. Latitude And that, with regard to the Fishery in the Gulph of St Lawrence, the French shall continue to exercise it conformably to the 5th Article of the Definitive Treaty of Peace between His Majesty and the Most Christian King, and the King of Spain, concluded at Paris on the l0th February 1763; You are therefore to use your utmost Diligence & Attention that the several Stipulations herein mentioned, & referred to, be suitably performed as far as they shall come within the Limits of your Command; And upon every occasion, to take particular care that the Subjects of His Most Christian Majesty have full and ample Enjoyment of the Fishery within the Limits & Boundaries assigned to them as aforesaid; as they have a Right to enjoy the same.

    And whereas on Act passed in the last Sessions of Parliament (12 Copies of which, are herewith sent to you) intituled "An Act to enable His Majesty to make such Regulations as may be necessary to prevent the Inconvenience which might arise from the Competition of His Subjects, and those of the Most Christian King in carrying on the Fishery on the Coast of the Island of Newfoundland." And His Majesty is desirous to fulfill with the utmost good Faith and Punctuality the Conditions of the Treaty with the Most Christian King concluded at Versailles as above mentioned, and the Declaration subjoined thereto; and for that Purpose to take the most positive Measures for preventing His Subjects from interrupting in any manner the Fishery of the French during the temporary Exercise of it granted to them upon the Coasts of the said Island, and thereby to remove all occasions of daily Quarrels between the Fishermen of the two Nations; You are therefore; in pursuance of His Majesty's Pleasure signified to Us by Lord Sydney one of His Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State, hereby required and directed, immediately after you arrive upon the Coasts of the said Island; to give Notice to all His Majesty's Subjects resorting thereto, that they are not to interrupt in any manner, by their Competition, the aforesaid Fishery of the Subjects of His Most Christian Majesty on the Coasts of the said Island within the Limits assigned to them by the said Treaty, and during the temporary Exercise thereof which is thereby granted to them; but to depart from within the said Limits. And in case any of His Majesty's Subjects (after such Notice shall have been given) shall refuse to depart within a reasonable time, you are to instruct the Officers under your Orders who may be dispatched to that part of the Coasts of the said Island, to cause any Stages, Flakes, Train Vats, or other Works whatever, erected by His Majesty's Subjects

p. 568

for the Purpose of carrying on the said Fishery, to be removed; and also all Ships, Vessels & Boats belonging to them which shall be found within the Limits aforesaid; and to use such means as may be found necessary for compelling them to depart from that part of the Coasts of the said Island: And, in pursuance of His Majesty's further Pleasure signified as aforesaid, you are to enjoin the Commanders of such of the Ships of your Squadron as may be employed within the Limits assigned to the Subjects of His Most Christian Majesty as aforesaid, to be particularly attentive to their Proceedings; And, in case they shall at any time discover that any of them shall be employed in carrying on their Fishery at more than the distance of half a Mile above the Entrance or Mouth of any River, or shall in any manner employ themselves except for the Purpose of cutting of Wood for building their Scaffolds and for repairing their Fishing Vessels as allowed by the said Treaty, to order them forthwith to desist from pursuing the same. And in case they shall refuse a Compliance with such Orders, you are to direct the said Commanders to seize and retain their Nets and other Implements, and to make a Special Report thereof to you; that the Matter may be communicated to His Majesty through one of His Principal Secretaries of State.—And you are to send one or more of the Ships of your Squadron to the several Ports which shall have been occupied by the Subjects of His Most Christian Majesty within the Limits assigned to them as aforesaid after the Season for their exercising the Fishery shall be over, with Orders to their Commanders in case they shall find that any of His Most Christian Majesty's Subjects remain upon the said Island contrary to the Treaty of Peace abovementioned, to bring them to you, together with any Nets or Implements seized as aforesaid, or to Great Britain in ease you shall have left Newfoundland, that further Instructions may be given concerning them.

    You are also to take due care that no Subject of His Most Christian Majesty, be permitted to reside or remain in any part whatever of the said Island of Newfoundland after the Fishing Season is over and during the Winter; And also that His Majesty's Subjects be not allowed to take charge of, preserve, or prepare any Boat, Stage, Flake, or Erection whatever, for the Purpose of the Fishery, on Account, or for the Use, of any Subject of His Most Christian Majesty for the ensuing Fishing Season. And you are strictly charged not to allow any of the Subjects of His Most Christian Majesty to cut down or carry off any Wood or Timber from the said Island of Newfoundland and the Islands adjacent, for any Purpose whatever, except for building their Scaffolds and repairing their Fishing Vessels as abovementioned: And in case it shall happen that any of His Majesty's Subjects shall, in any wise act contrary to the true Intent & Meaning of the Stipulations made by the Treaty of Versailles, or the Treaty of Utrecht aforesaid; And the Subjects of His Most Christian Majesty shall, in that respect, have just cause of Complaint; You are immediately to grant them due Redress by exercising the Authority vested in you by His Majesty's Commission & Instructions, or by any Act of Parliament in force for that Purpose; taking due care nevertheless, that no subject or Officer of His Most Christian Majesty

p. 569

do exercise any Act of Authority upon the Island of Newfoundland, or the adjacent Islands, or the Coasts thereof, in derogation to His Majesty's Sovereignty over the same ; But that, in every case of just Complaint on their Parts, they do apply to you, or His Majesty's Officers in Command under you, for Redress.

    And, in order effectually to prevent any Disputes arising between His Majesty's Subjects, and those of His Most Christian Majesty, carrying on the Fisheries on the Coasts of the Island of Newfoundland; You are, in pursuance of His Majesty's Pleasure, to prevent as far as possible any of His Subjects fishing within the Limits herein before described; and within which, the Subjects of His Most Christian Majesty arc now allowed to carry on the Fishery.

    And whereas, by the abovementioned Treaty of Peace between His Majesty and the United States of America, the Provinces of New Hampshire &c. &c.—same as to Commº Elliot.

  Same as to Commodore Elliot,
      dated the 26th May 1786.
                               [ante p. 559]

    Whereas the early Trade shall be ready about the latter end of August you are to order the Commander of one of the frigates to take them under his care, and repairing off Cape Finisterre to leave those bound to the Ports on the North Coast of Spain, and proceed off the Coast of Portugal with the rest; calling at Lisbon where he is to remain not exceeding Ten Days, for such Trade as may be ready & willing to accompany him, and then proceed to England with them, repairing to Spithead where he is to remain 'til further Order, and seeing the said Trade in safety as far as his way & their's may lie together.

  same as to Commº Elliot.
                               [ante p. 560]

    By the end of October you are to take under your Convoy any Fishing Ships which may be then bound to Portugal and Spain, and see them off their respective Ports, as far to the Southward as Cadiz. And in case you shall find at that Port any homeward bound Trade ready and willing to accompany you to England, you are to take them under your Care; And putting to sea with the first opportunity of Wind & Weather, proceed to Lisbon, where you are in like manner to take under your Care such homeward bound Trade as may be there; and then after a stay not exceeding Eight Days at farthest, you are to leave that Port & make the best of your way with the whole of the aforesaid Trade to England, repairing to Spithead, where you are to remain until further Orders, and seeing the said Trade in safety

p. 570

as far as your way & theirs may lie together. In case however it shall be necessary, or more eligible, for you to send a Frigate to perform this Service, you are at liberty to do so, and to proceed yourself directly in the Salisbury, to England, with such homeward bound Trade as may be desirous, and in readiness to accompany you; repairing to Spithead, and sending to us an Account of your arrival & proceedings.

    But whereas the Court of Spain, in consequence of repeated Complaints &c.—same as to Commº Elliot.

  Same as to Commº Elliot.
                               [ante p. 560]

    Given under Our Hands the 25th May 1789.

RD HOPKINS         
By &c.                                                            HOOD
          P. S.



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