The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume II

[19 March,

Sir Richd. G.
Keats, K.B

p. 677                                JOINT

No. 170.




C.O. 195.    VOL. 16,  p. 352 [page numbers end here.]

George P R

    Instructions to Our Trusty and Wellbeloved Sir Richard Goodwin Keats Knight of the Most Honorable Order of the Bath Vice Admiral of the Blue Squadron of Our Fleet Our Governor and Commander in Chief and over Our Island of Newfoundland in America and the Islands adjacent including the Islands of St Pierre and Miquelon and all the Coast of Labrador from the River Saint John to Hudsons Streights the Island of Anticosti and all other adjacent Islands the Islands of Madilaine excepted as also of Our Forts and Garrisons erected and established or that shall be erected or established in Our said Island of Newfoundland Anticosti and the Islands adjacent or on the Coasts of Labrador within the limits aforesaid Given at Our Court at Carlton House the Nineteenth day of March 1813 In the Fifty Third Year of Our Reign.

same as 1
  to Sir John Thomas Duckworth, ante
  pp.641 to 645.

    4th.  Several observations apparently of importance having been made by the Governors who have preceded you in the Government of Our Island of Newfoundland and respecting various Measures likely in their opinion greatly to promote the Success of the Fishery there as well as to increase the advantages thereof to Great Britain many of which Measures stated to have arisen from an unavoidable change of circumstances requiring alterations in the Laws now in force regulating the said Fisheries and appearing to Us to deserve the most serious consideration before any Proposal on the Subject shall be submitted to Parliament We have directed Copies of these observations to be transmitted to your herewith And It is Our Will and Pleasure that you shall during the approaching Season while you remain on the Station

p. 678

obtain the best Information in your power from the most authentic sources respecting the expediency of proposing to the Legislature any and what alterations in the several Acts of the 10th and 11th William 3d and the 15th, 26th, 28th, & 33d. years of Our Reign particularly with respect.

    1st  to confirming the Title of Persons to Ship Rooms and Buildings which have for a considerable time been in the possession of the present Holders without any legal Right thereto or who derive their Claims from the usurpation of others as well as with respect to the Governors of the Island being authorized to grant Leases of such Ship Rooms as have not been occupied and on what conditions and for what Terms.

    2dly  With respect to the Provisions in the 10th and 11th Wm 3d relative to the Fishing Admiral which it is represented have long been in disuse and substituting some competent Jurisdiction (if it shall be thought necessary for settling disputes about fishing Rooms).

    3dly  Respecting the Employment of two Green Men in each Boat under a Provision in the same Act which for the reasons stated neither has been for some time nor can apparently be hereafter acted upon.

    4thly  The Provisions in the Act of the 15th Year of Our Reign Ch 31 Sect 13 respecting the retaining 40s to pay the Passage of Fishermen home and in the 14th Section of the same Act respecting Restrictions in the mode of paying the Men neither of which it is stated can be enforced

    And It is Our further Will and Pleasure that you do not upon any pretence whatever allow any new Possession to be taken of Lands or Rivers or Parts thereof in Our Island of Newfoundland or of the Coast thereof or on the Islands adjacent including St Pierre and Miquelon until it shall be decided whether any alteration of the Laws above referred to shall be proposed to Parliament and you are in the mean time to take care that the ancient Ship Rooms and Fishing Rooms do continue under the Provisions of Statute l0th and 11th Wm 3d Ch 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 shall 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 Ships and Boats they shall continue to hold the same in like manner and for the like purpose so long as they shall carry on their Fishing 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 Whereas it appears by the observations of your Predecessors

p. 679

already alluded to that the Instructions from time to time given to prevent the Erection of any Buildings 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 have not for a considerable period been enforced and Reasons have been submitted why that System should be departed from It is Our Will and Pleasure that you should while you remain on the Station inform yourself as fully as you can on that Subject also and report your opinion thereupon on your Return It is Our further Will and Pleasure nevertheless that all or any Buildings Erections Wharfs Slips 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 to claim any Interest therein if upon the Spot or to the Persona in possession and occupation thereof 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 shall be given

    5th  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 either under Grants or permission from former Governors or otherwise as if they had an exclusive and indefeasible Right 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 as well with a view to enable a Judgement being formed relative to Lands &c of which Persons have already possessed themselves as to a due consideration of what Measures in this respect should be pursued in future It is Our Will and Pleasure that you in conjunction with Our Chief Justice of Our said Island do cause such Enquiries to be made as you and he shall judge most proper using very great caution in the manner of conducting this Enquiry so as to avoid most carefully creating unnecessary alarms in the Minds of Persons in possession of the Lands &c suggesting to them that it is equally the Interest of themselves and of the Public that the Question should be put at rest and that if any Proceeding on the part of the Public shall be thought necessary there is every reason to believe attention will be paid to the Interest of the Parties liable to be affected thereby in the course of that Enquiry it will be important to ascertain as accurately as you can the nature of the 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 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 1685 and

p. 680

whether any account is kept of such Fishing Places as 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 and fit for the purpose of carrying on the Fishery, by the Adventurers who may arrive from His Majesty's European Dominions.

same as 7
  to Sir John Thomas Duckworth, ante

    17th  And it is Our Intention that all Persons inhabiting and frequenting the Islands under your Government should have full liberty of conscience and the free Exercise of all such modes of Religious Worship as far as is consistent with Law Provided they be contented with a quiet and peaceable enjoyment of the same not giving offence or scandal to the Government.

same as 19
  to Sir John Thomas Duckworth, ante
G. P. R.       




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