The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume III

2 August,

[Aug., 1767].

Col. Cr.
Vol. I, p. 9.
America &
West Indies.

p. 1006                                JOINT

No. 249.



(reverse of book).

By His Excellency Hugh Pallisser, &c., &c.

Commander in Chief of all His Majesty's Forts and Garrisons & Ships & Vessels employ'd within the said Districts.

      IN PURSUANCE of the King's Commands for Establishing Posts with Guards on the Coast of Labrador, for the Encouragement and Security of His Subjects Employ'd in the Fisheries on that Coast, against insults from the Savages as well as to secure their Ships, Boats, Craft, Tackle and Fishing Works, from being damaged or destroy'd by Lawless Crews from the Plantations or elsewhere, I have erected a Strong Block House and Stockaded Fort at Pitts Harbour on the said Coast.
      You are hereby required and directed to take upon you the Command of the said Fort, named York Fort, & observe the following instructions.

      1st.  You are by every means in your Power, to protect, and defend His Maj's Subjects resorting thither, with their Ships from Britain, and their Effects, Fishing Works, &c. as above-mention'd.

      2nd.  Whereas many lawless Crews from the Plantations and elsewhere, resorting to the Coast of Labrador, have been guilty of all kinds of disorders, such as Robbing, Plundering and Murthering each other, and the Natives of the Country; also destroying the Fishing Works in the absence of the Ships, Firing the Woods, and sundry other Crimes and Enormities to the obstruction of the Fishery, you are as much as in you lies to prevent the same in future, and for better, enabling you to do this, and to preserve the Peace, you will herewith receive a Commission appointing you His Majesty's Justice for keeping the Peace, and any Persons that set fire to the woods, or that Commit Robbery, or do any damage to the Ship Fishing Works, or Commit Murther on any of His Majesty's Christian or Indian Subjects, or any other Capital offence, you are to apprebend and deliver such Offenders to the Commander of any of His Maj's Ships that may come to the Coast, in order to their being convey'd to St. John's to be try'd for the same at the General Assizes there.

p. 1007

      3rd.  You are not by Virtue of these Instructions or of your Commission, as Justice of the Peace, to do anything contrary or repugnant to the Statute of the 10th and 11th, of William 3rd, which you will herewith receive, nor to oppose or interfere with the powers thereby granted to the Fishing Admirals in what relates to the Fishery, and the Rules and Regulations ordained by the said Act, nor interfere in anything but for preserving the Peace, and the particular offences mentioned in the preceding Article.

      4th.  The Officer who you will Relieve, will deliver you an account of the Ordnance Arms, Ammunition and Stores in the Fort, which you are to be carefull of, and keep a regular account of the Expenditure thereof.

      5th.  I have appointed the Guard to consist of Twenty two men, all apart of the Complement of His Majesty's Ship Guernsey (viz) Yourself, a Serjeant, a Corporal, and twelve Marines, a Midshipman and Six Seamen, the whole to be in all things under your authority and Command. Mr. Lucas, Midshipman of the Guernsey has my directions to take on him the dare and Charge of the King's Shallop a Yaul and two Wooding Boats, which I have ordered to be left with you to be employ'd on the Service as you shall see occasion to direct; I have also order'd provision to be laid in for the aforemention'd number of Men, to serve till the first day of August next. You are to be very careful the same is regularly issued according to the Established Allowance of the Navy.

      6th.  You are to be very careful to keep a proper Guard and make a proper disposition for being always secure against any Surprise or Attacks from the Savages you will herewith receive my Regulations relating to ye Natives of the Country for your information and guidance in what is thereby directed, taking care (especially after the Ships have left the Coast) never to put yourself or any of your People into their power, however friendly they may pretend or appear to be, and above all things never to admit above one or two within your Works, and that not often, only now and then, to convince them that no harm is intended to them, and dismiss them with kind and friendly treatment, yet be always strictly on your Guard, nor don't encourage them to abide in your Neighbourhood, and on no Account ever let your People go out without Arms, either by land or in Boats.

      7th.  When any Vessels from the Plantations come into your Port (and when their is no King's Ship there) you are to take an Account of them in the Form you will herewith receive, and let the Masters read the Advertisement relating to them dated the 1st Aug., 1766, which you will also herewith receive, and inform the Masters, that if any of them are guilty of any of the Offences therein mentioned, they will be apprehended by you, and sent to me, to be Punished with the utmost severity of the Law.

      8th.  If at any time any French or other Foreign Vessels should come on the Coast you are to detain them (except in cases of very apparent distress)

p. 1008

and deliver them to the Commander of the first King's Ship that may arrive on ye Coast to be sent to St. John's for my Examination, and to be proceeded against according to Law.

      9th.  You are to Communicate these Instructions to ye Commander of any of the King's Ships that may come to your Harbour, & follow any Orders they may Judge necessary to give you for the King's Service.

      10th.  In case of your absence or Death, I have appoint'd Mr. Fran's. Lucas to succeed to the Command of the Garrison and after him Mr. Robt. Baldock, and after him Newman, Serjeant of Marines.

Given &c. in Pitts Harbr., Labrador,          
2nd August, 1767.      

No. 250.                                         C




To His Excellency Hugh Pallisser Governor and Commander in         Chief in & over the Island of Newfoundland, the Coast of         Labrador & of all the Territories dependent thereupon.—

      We the Undersigners, being Adventurers in the Fishery from Britain to the Coast of Labrador, beg leave to represent to your Excellency, that we and a great many others are determined to pursue the Ship Fishery with Spirit to this Coast, since by your measures it is made Manifest that We may depend on being supported therein, under the Rules and Regulations prescribed by the Statute of the 10th & 11th of William 3d and that the Government will provide a Sufficient security for the Persons, Ships, Effects & Fishing Works of the Adventurers, as well from the several Nations of Savages of the Country, as from the depredations, outrages and encroachments which we have been expos'd to from the many Lawless Crews resorting hither from the different Plantations and elsewhere.
      And as we are satisfied your measures are proper for preserving good Order, and for the Publick benefit, without giving undue preferences to individuals We beg leave to offer to your consideration our opinion, that it will be a great Encouragement to the Ship Fishery, if such Fishing Ships as

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may first make a new place and Fishing Conveniencies thereon, can be only allowed to enjoy the same to their own use and benefit, so long as they continue to occupy and use the same with Fishing Ships Yearly but no longer; a declaration of Your sentiments upon this Head, and that you think such a Custom will be conformable to the intention of the said Statute for extending and improving the Fishery, will, we know determine great numbers immediately to become Ship Adventurers to this Coast from Britain.
      On this occasion, we also beg leave to return our thanks for the Advantages we have already experienced from the pains the Kings Officers upon this Coast under your Excellencies directions, have taken for putting a stop to the great disorders that have of late Years been committed on this Coast by Lawless Crews from the Colonies, by which great advantages to Ye Nation have been lost, the Coast kept in a State of War, and the utmost confusion reigned amongst the many different People from the different Colonies all disputing, contending and obstructing each other, and the whole conspiring to exclude and Ruin Adventurers from Britain.—
      We beg the continuance of your measures for suporting us in our Rights and Privileges as Ship Fishers from Britain arriving Yearly, equipped and Manned as the aforemention'd Statute directs;   against all obstructions and Inter lopers, and particularly that care may be taken for preserving the Woods for the uses of the Fishery, which is already very scarce, many tracts of many Leagues each, having been already fired and destroy'd by the aforemention'd disorderly Crews, and above all we hope that you will not allow of any Patents or Grants from the Governors of any of the Plantations for any Persons whatever to hold exclusively any particular districts or Harbours on this Coast, or any branches of the Fishery thereon such as we have been inform'd the Governor of Quebec has made, since such a practice would prove not only the immediate ruin of us, but of the whole British Fishery in general.—
      Signed by Twenty Five Ship Adventurers in Labrador, in behalf of themselves and their Partners—

at      BRISTOL                            
Augt 1767.

                        Copy of a Memorial from the Ship Adventurers at                         Labrador praying to be supported in their Rights                         and Privileges.



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