The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume II

p. 79  
[1 May, 1804.]  

Sir Erass. Gower

Copy of this Article sent to the said Offirs
20 May 1806.

Copy of this Article sent to the Law Officers
20th May 1806.

p. 620                                           C

No. 160.




C.O. 195.    VOL. 16.
George R.

Instructions      to Our Trusty and Wellbeloved Sir Erasmus Gower     Knight Vice Admiral of the White Squadron of Our Fleet, Our     Governor and Commander in Chief in and over Our Island of     Newfoundland in America and the Islands adjacent including     the Islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon as also of Our Forts     and Garrisons erected and established or that shall be erected     and established in Our said Island of Newfoundland and the     Islands aforesaid. Given at Our Court at Saint James's the     Thirty first day of May 1804, in the forty fourth year of Our     Reign.

    1st  With these Our Instructions you will receive Our Commission under Our Great Seal of Our United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland constituting you Our Governor and Commander in Chief in and over Our Island of Newfoundland in America and Islands adjacent including the Islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon and also of all Our Forts and Garrisons erected and established or which shall be erected and established in Our said Islands with directions to obey and follow 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 prepare yourself with all convenient speed and to repair to your said Command and being there arrived you are to take upon you the execution of the Office and Trust which We have reposed in You and so soon as conveniently may be you are to assemble the principal Inhabitants of the said Island of Newfoundland and of such other of the Islands under your Command as you shall judge expedient and with all due solemnity you are to cause Our said Commission constituting you Our Governor and Commander in Chief as aforesaid to be read and published at such Meeting.

p. 621

same as 2
  to Vice-Admiral James Gambier, ante
  pp.603-604, 607.

    5th  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 them 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 whatever allow any Person or Persons to take as Private Property any Lands or Rivers or parts thereof on the Island of Newfoundland or the Coasts thereof or on the Islands adjacent including Saint Pierre and Miquelon And you are to take care that the ancient Ship Rooms and Fishing Rooms do continue under the Provisions of Statute tenth and Eleventh William the third Chapter Twenty fifth 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. 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 as shall first arrive and take possession of the same for the like purpose of carrying on the Fishery in proportion to the number of the 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 carry on their Fishery there, but in case they shall neglect so to carry on the Fishery for one entire Season such Shores or parts thereof as 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 Fish within two Hundred 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 Ships or Fences already erected may remain provided the same are not erected or built upon ancient Ship Rooms and provided they are not in Your Judgement 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

p. 622

thereof and putting the said Parties or Persons to as little inconvenience as the case will admit if such Parties or Persons do not cause to remove the same in due time after such notice is given.

    6th  And whereas it has also been represented to Us that divers of Our Subjects residing in Newfoundland sell mortgage and lease for considerable Sums Houses Lands Fishing Stages Cook Rooms and Flakes of which they have been in possession as if they had an exclusive and indefeasible Title therein contrary to the intention of Us and Our Predecessors and contrary to the Laws made for preventing the same Now in order that We may be better informed concerning the premises and that We may be able to determine what measures in this respect shall be pursued in future. It is Our Will and Pleasure that you in conjunction with Our Chief Justice of the said Island do cause such enquiry to be made as you and he shall judge most proper (but in such a manner as not to create unnecessary alarms) for ascertaining the pretended Titles and Claims under which such Property is held the length of time that the present Possessors or those under whom they claim have enjoyed the same and the nature extent supposed Rent and Value of such Property and you are further to enquire whether it has ever been ascertained in the several Harbours of Newfoundland what fishing Places did belong to the Fishing Ships before the Year One Thousand six hundred and Eighty five and whether any account is kept of those Fishing Places that have been possessed since that year in order to prevent the disputes that may otherwise happen between the Masters of Ships and the Inhabitants and whether there is any want of convenient places unoccupied on the Beach or Shores of Newfoundland fit for the purpose of carrying on the Fishery by the adventurers who may arrive from His Majesty's European Dominions and whether the fishing Admirals and others discharge their duty according to the Provisions of Statute Tenth and Eleventh William the third Chapter twenty fifth.

same as 9
  to Vice-Admiral James Gambier, ante
G. R.          




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