p. 692                                           C

No. 176.




C.O. 194.   VOL. 67.

Copy of His Majesty's Instructions to Vice Admiral Sir Charles     Hamilton Bart. as Governor of Newfoundland with Remarks     thereon pursuant to the Earl of Bathurst's dispatch of the 30th     June 1823.

Enclosure in Governor Sir C. Hamilton's Despatch Nº. 125
of the 2nd February 1824.

In the name & on the behalf of His Majesty

George P. R.

Instructions to our trusty &    well beloved Sir Charles    Hamilton Bart. Vice Admiral    of the Blue Squadron of our    Fleet, Our Governor and    Commander in Chief in and    over our Island of    Newfoundland in America,    and the Islands adjacent, and    all the Coast of Labrador    from Mount Joli to the    Entrance of Hudson's Straits    the Island of Anticosti and all    other adjacent Islands, the    Islands of Madelaine    excepted. Given at our Court    at Carlton House the Ninth    day of May 1818 in the fifty    eighth Year of our Reign.

p. 693


    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 and all the Coast of Labrador from Mount Joli to the entrance of Hudson's Straits, the Island of Anticosti and all other adjacent Islands, the Islands of Madelaine excepted, according to the provisions of an Act passed in the 49th year of our Reign intituled "An Act for establishing Courts of Judicature in the Island of Newfoundland & 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 and 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 Manual, 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 Island of Newfoundland and of such other of the Islands

p. 694

    Unobjectionable. But it is suggested that in place of the clause underlined in Red Ink, the substance of the following be inserted, viz. "The Survey of which has already been begun, and for the completion of which Competent authority and means will be afforded you by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty."

under your Command as you shall judge expedient, and with all due solemnity you are to cause our said Commission, constituting you our Governor & Commander in Chief as aforesaid to be read and published at such Meeting.

    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 St 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 & 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 Posts 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.

* These words are underlined in red ink in the original document.

p. 695

    Unobjectionable. But as His Majesty was pleased to issue certain Instructions respecting the Privileges granted to the People of the United States, of fishing and drying Fish in the British American Dominions, as communicated to me in Earl Bathurst's Dispatch of the 21st June 1819, it might be proper that the same should be introduced into the Standing Instructions.

    My opinion that alterations were required on several points in the Laws relating to Newfoundland has been at different times communicated to the Earl Bathurst but more particularly at the commencement of the year 1822, and I had been led to that Conclusion by observing that so far from the return of a state of Peace having realized the once general expectation of a return of the ancient System of carrying on the Fishery in Qualified Fishing Ships from England, the number of such Ships had annually decreased from 48 which was the number in the year 1817, to 15 the number that arrived last year. Whereas in the year 1792 there were no less than 276 Fishing Ships employed, of which 187 were Bankers. The protracted warfare, in which the Country was in the interim engaged, rendered this System greatly hazardous to the Interests of those concerned by the frequent losses they were liable to sustain from the Enemy, while the already increased population of the Island was every year augmenting, and gradually

    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 contrary to the same, and you are not to suffer any foreigners whatever to fish, or dry or cure any fish on any of the Coasts or Shores within your Government except in cases in which the subjects of any Foreign Power are entitled by Treaty to fish, or dry or cure fish there.

    Several Observations apparently of importance having been made by the Governors who have preceded you in the Government of our Island of Newfoundland, & respecting various Measures likely in their opinion greatly to promote the success of the fishery there as well as to encrease 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 Fishing submitted to Parliament: We have directed Copies of these observations in to be transmitted to you herewith, and it is our Will and Pleasure that you shall during the approaching Season while you remain on the station, 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

p. 696

establishing a Fishery in Boats along shore or at inconsiderable distances from the Island, this being also favoured by a Winter and Spring Seal Fishery, which employed considerable numbers before the Season for Cod fishing commenced. Thus the Ship Fishery has diminished to little more than a name, the result of the two systems being last year the production of 750,000 Quintals from the Boat or Island Fishery, while that of the Ships made only 34,000 Qs It was evident therefore that Laws created as well for the encouragement of a Ship Fishery from England as with a view to discountenance settlement and a resident Fishery, were become nearly a dead Letter, and that some provisions on the other hand were wanting for the regulation of the latter. The subject having been brought into the Bill now before Parliament for consolidating the Laws relating to Newfoundland, this Article would appear to be no longer necessary. I have therefore only to remark on the several heads which it embraces and on which enquiry is Sought.

    1st  As to confirming the Title of Persons to Ship Rooms and Buildings, the Bill proposes that the Governor shall lease out all the Ship Rooms, in order to do which, it will become necessary to abate encroachments on them, when the question the of right from long possession will be legally determined.

    2ndly  The Jurisdiction of the Fishing Admirals is abolished by the

several Acts of the 10 & 11 Wm 3 and the 15 26th 28th and 33rd 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.

    2nd  With respect to the provisions in the 10th & 11th Wm 3 relative to



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