The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume II

[18 June, 1792.]

Instructions for Rear Adml Sir Richd King as Commander in Chief of His Majesty's Ships & Vessels at Newfoundland.

p. 579                                           C

No. 146.




ADM. SEC. 2.  VOL. 122, p. 338.
By &c.    
Instructions for Sir Richd King, Knt Rear Admiral of the Red &     Commander in Chief of a Squadron of His Majesty's Ships and     Vessels employed and to be employed at and about     Newfoundland, the Islands of Madelaine & 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 Majty relating to the aforesaid Island of Newfoundland, or any other parts within the Limits of your Command; doing everything 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.

    You are, agreeable to an Act of Parliament of the lOth & llth Years of King William the 3d, entitled "An Act to encourage the Trade to Newfoundland"—(a Copy of which you will receive herewith) to be aiding and assisting to the Admirals, Vice and Rear Admirals of the respective Ports and Harbours of Newfoundland, from time to time as need shall require, in preserving the Peace & good Government among the Seamen and Fishermen and in apprehending Offenders: And you are, so far as the same may relate to you as Commander in Chief of His Majty's Ships and Vessels at and about Newfound-

p. 580

land, to comply with the following Acts of Parliament (Copies of which you will also receive herewith) vizt

15th Geo: 3d ......................................... Capt : 31st
18th ............................................................... 55th
20th ................................................................. 6th
  „    ............................................................... 10th
26th ................................................................ 26th

    You are to be careful that there be not taken on board the Ships and Vessels 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 their men to the Fishing Ships, so neither are you to suffer to be taken on board the Ships or Vessels of your Squardron any sort of Fish by way of Merchandize, Freight or otherwise, excepting what shall be necessary for the use and spending of their respective Companies.

    And whereas it is very prejudicial to this Kingdom that the Fishing Ships do not bring Home from Nfd Land the Complement of men they carry out, many of them being enticed array to other places, and others left in the Country; You are to let the Masters know that it will behove them 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: And you are to use your best Endeavours to oblige them thereto so far as in you lies, except only with regard to such of their Men as shall have entered into His Majesty's Service.

    And whereas no Foreign Ships and Vessels whatever (except as hereinafter excepted) 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, & that his Orders given therein be strictly complied with; And, if you shall find any Foreign Ships fishing at or about Newfoundland, you are to oblige them to desist & depart from off the Coast, excepting Ships and Vessels belonging to the Subjects of the most Christian King and to the People of the United States of America, fishing according to the Stipulations contained in the Definitive Treaties of Peace concluded at Versailles on the 3d September 1783 between His Majesty, the most Christian King & the United States above mentioned; printed Copies of which you will receive herewith.

    And whereas, by the 4th, 5th and 6th Articles of the first mentioned Treaty, His Majesty is maintained in His Right to the Island of Newfoundland and to the adjacent Islands, as the whole were assured to him by the 13th Article

p. 581

of the Treaty of Utrecht, excepting the Islands of St Pierre and Miquelon, 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 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 northward and 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 10th February 1763; You are therefore to use your utmost diligence and attention that the several Stipulations hereinmentioned, and 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 an Act passed in the 28th Year of His present Majesty's Reign (twelve Copies of which are herewith sent to you) entitled "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 Coasts of the Island of Newfoundland." And His Majesty is desirous to fulfill with the utmost good faith and punctuallity 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, late 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,

p. 582

to cause any Stages, Flakes, Train Vats, or other Works whatever, erected by His Majesty's Subjects for the purpose of carrying on the said Fishery to be remov'd; and also all Ships, Vessels and 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 maybe employ'd within the Limits assign'd 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 employ'd 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 Wood for building their Scaffolds & 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, & 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 case you shall have left NfdLand, 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 NewfdLand after the Fishing Season is over, and during the Winter; And also that His Majesty's Subjects be not allow'd 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 abovemention'd: And in case it shall happen that any of His Majesty's Subjects shall in any wise act contrary to the true Intent and Meaning of the Stipulations made by the Treaty of Versailles or the Treaty of Utrecht, as 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 do exercise any Act of

p. 583

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 hereinbefore described, and within which the Subjects of His Most Christian Majesty are now allow'd 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, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pensylvania, Delaware; Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, were declared by His Majesty to be free and independent States, and by the 3d Article of the said Treaty "The People of the said United States were allowed to continue to enjoy unmolested the Right to take Fish of every kind on the Grand Bank and on all the other Banks of Newfoundland; also in the Gulph of St Lawrence, and at all other places in the Sea where the Inhabitants of both Countries used at any time theretofore to fish; & also liberty to take Fish of every hind on such part of the Coast of Newfoundland as British Fishermen should use (but not to dry or cure the same on that Island) and also on the Coasts, Bays and Creeks of all other of His Majesty's Dominions in America; and the American Fishermen were to have liberty to dry, and cure Fish in any of the unsettled Bays, Harbours and Creeks of Nova Scotia, Magdalen Islands and Labrador, so long as the same should remain unsettled; but so soon as the same, or either of them, should be settled, it should not be lawful for the said Fishermen to dry or cure Fish at such Settlement without a previous Agreement for that purpose with the Inhabitants, Proprietors or Possessors of the Ground." You are therefore, in pursuance of His Majesty's Pleasure to take due care that the People of the United States of America do fully and amply enjoy every Right of fishing, drying & curing of Fish allowed them by the said 3d Article of the Treaty above recited; not allowing them however to dry or cure their Fish on His Majesty's Island of Newfoundland, or in any Bay, Harbour or Creek of any other part within the Limits of your Government, which is settled. And you are on every occasion to exact and require a full & specific performance of the said Treaty on their parts within those Limits.

    You are for the abovementioned purposes to visit the several Bays and Places in Newfoundland between Cape St John (passing to the North and descending by the Western Coast) and Cape Raye, or cause them to be visited by any of the Ships of your Squadron, as you shall judge best, having due regard also to such part of His Majesty's Declaration and the Counter



Partnered Projects Government and Politics - Table of Contents Site Map Search Heritage Web Site Home