The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume II

[5 June,


Appendix F.  

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No. 167.



C.O. 194.   VOL. 49.

    Art 1st On the 23rd of June I sailed from Torbay in His Majesty's Ship Antelope, and arrived in St

    Instructions to our Trusty and well beloved Sir John Thomas Duckworth knight of the most Honorable Order of the Bath, Vice Admiral of the Red 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 and all the Coast of Labrador form the river Saint John to Hudson's Streights, the Island of Anticosti and all other adjacent Islands, the Islands of Madilaine excepted, as also of our Forts and Garrisons erected or established, or that shall be erected or established in our said Island of Newfoundland, Anticosti, and the Islands adjacent, or on the Coast of Labrador with the limits aforesaid.
    Given at our Court at Saint James's the fifth day of June 1810, In the fiftieth year of our Reign.
    1st With these our Instructions you will receive our Commission under our Great Seal of our United

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John's Harbour Newfoundland on the 20th of July, landed on Monday the 23rd and caused His Majesty's Commission, appointing me Governor and Commander in Chief, to be rad and published; the principal Inhabitants having been previously assembled for that purpose.

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 all the Coast of Labrador from the river Saint John to Hudson's Streights, the Island of Anticosti and all other adjacent Islands, the Islands of Madilaine excepted according to the Provisions of an Act passed in the Forty ninth year of our Reign intituled "An Act for establishing Court* of Judicature in the Island of Newfoundland and the Islands adjacent and for re-annexing part of the Coast of Labrador and the Islands lying on the said Coast to the Government of Newfoundland" and also of all our Forts and Garrisons erected and established or which shall be erected or/established in our said Island of Newfoundland, Anticosti and the Islands adjacent, or on the Coast of Labrador within the limits aforesaid, with directions to obey and follow such Orders and Instructions as shall from time to time be given you under our Signet and Sign Manuel, or by our Order in our Privy Council, you are therefore to prepare yourself with all convenient Speed to repair to your said Command, and being there arrived you are to take upon you the execution of the Office and Trust we have reposed in you, and as soon as conveniently may be, you are to assemble the principal Inhabitants of the said 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

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    Art. 2nd Having executed the usual routine of business of St John's, and made arrangements to provide for a month's absence, I sailed from thence on Tuesday the 7th of August to visit the several Harbours to the Northward. Arrived at Harbour Grace on the 8th, at Trinity on the 11th, at Croque Harbour on the 16th, at Pitts Harbour (Labrador) on the 21st, and returned to St John's on Friday the 7th of September. The several Coasts and Harbours on the other parts of the Station have been duly visited by the Officers under my Command.
    With respect to the procuring drafts of the several Harbours and Coasts situate between Cape Bonavista and Cape St John, I have not been furnished with authority to employ a competent Officer with proper assistants for the execution of this Service, nor have I received any directions on the subjects from the Admiralty. It has not indeed been in my power this year to take any measures for the accomplishment of this object, but I shall not fail to make application to their Lordship's to enable me to do so on my return to Newfoundland.
    In compliance with the latter part of this Article, directing me to state the Condition of the Forts, and whether it may be desirable to erect any new Forts or Posts in the Island, I have procured from Chief Engineer his report of the works at St Johns (Appendix A.) and beg to submit my own remarks which are annexed to it; Offering them however with the utmost deference to the

you our Governor and Commander in Chief as aforesaid to be read and published at such meeting.
    2nd It is our will and pleasure that you do from time to time as the nature of the Service will allow, visit all the Coasts and Harbours of the Islands under your Government, you shall also procure accurate Drafts or Maps of such of the said several Harbours, Bays and Coasts as are situated between Cape Bonavista and Cape Saint John; It having been represented to us that the other parts of the Coast of the said Island have already been carefully surveyed; for the due execution of which service, you will have authority to employ a competent Officer with proper Assistants, and to hire a small Vessel to attend him, and in case you cannot visit all the said Coasts and Harbours, you are to give directions to the Officers under your Command for the purposes beforementioned, taking care to report to us through one of our Principal Secretaries of State, the Condition of our said Forts, and whether it may be necessary to erect any new Forts or Ports in the Islands under your Command, you are also to transmit to the Master General of our Ordnance an account of the Arms, Ammunition and Stores in our said Forts, in which respect you are to follow such directions as you shall receive from our said Master General of the Ordnance.

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professional skill of the Chief Engineer.
    I have obtained an Account of the Arms, ammunition and Stores in the Forts at Newfoundland; and shall transmit the same to the Master General of the Ordnance as this Article directs.
    With respect to the Our Ports, the only appearance that I have found of defence has been here and there a dismounted Gun; which has generally too been spiked.
    The ruinous Fort at Placentia indeed has not yet been dismantled, but it is not in any degree fit for Service, and ought certainly to be abandoned, for it might at any time be plundered by a Privateer, and the Stores taken away. In the present tranquil state of these Seas in which the enemy has so rarely appeared, there is little necessity perhaps for the expence of erecting batteries: the Navy should be considered as the prime security of the Station in general; a fishery can only be protected by the Navy.
    But it is necessary to confess that in the absence of the British Cruizers there is no one of the Our Harbours that I have visited which would not lie at the mercy of the most insignificant Privateer: Those for instance of Conception Bay, in which frequently twenty ships are laden in the course of the Season for Europe, are so perfectly, and as it were so invitingly open to attack, that it is almost surprising that no attempt upon them should every have been made. It is not well that security should be grounded only on the absence of an Enemy. The naval Force usually employed on the Station does not admit of a Vessel

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being stationed at each of the principal Harbours for its exclusive protection; and unless it could be so the question is simply, whether the probability of an Enemy every coming upon the Coast is, or is not, sufficiently great to warrant the expenditure of such a sum as would defend the entrance of the principal Harbours against an occasional cruizer. At those which I have visited, Harbour Grace, Carbonear, and Trinity, there are so many natural facilities that works might at very little expence be raised for their defence. For instance at Harbour Grace, a Martello tower upon the Summit called the Peak of Teneriffe, and a Battery of three Guns upon a lower point called Labour-in-vain would afford in my opinion an ample security. A Tower on the Island of Carbonear would defend the entrance of that Harbour and would be all that appears necessary.
    For the defence of Trinity Harbour (one of the finest certainly in the world, and where from fourteen to twenty sail of Vessels are laden in the season) a Tower placed upon the Hill called Rider's Hill would perhaps be sufficient.
    These are the only stations of those I have visited which seem to require any works on the Land, and perhaps there are none other North of St John's which would be deemed worth of any.

    Art. 3rd The Provisions of the several Acts of Parliament for the encouragement of Shipping and Navigation have been observed. no foreigners have attempted to fish on the Coasts or shores within this

    3rd You are to be particularly careful to enforce the Provisions of all Acts of Parliament for encouraging the Shipping Navigation and Trade of our Dominions, and to prevent all evasions and frauds con-



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