p. 1030 C
PALLISER TO LORDS OF TRADE,
re CLAIM OF SETTLERS FROM QUEBEC TO LANDS ON LABRADOR COAST, UNDER GRANTS FROM GENERAL MURRAY.
B.T.N. VOL. 20.
MY LORDS,—In obedience to the King's Commands by the 25th & 26th Articles of His Majesty's Instructions, to give Notice to your Lordships of my Proceedings, and of the condition of the affairs of the Islands & Territories under my Government, and the Trade and Fisheries thereof in order to be laid before His Majesty; I now beg leave to observe to Your Lordships, that sundry claims and pretentions have been set up by a few Smugling Traders settled at Quebec, to an exclusive property of above 500 miles of the Coast of Labrador, and the numerous adjacent Islands, with a Monopoly of the Fisheries thereon, founded 1st on a mistaken notion, that before the late Treaty of Peace with France, the said Countries and Islands belonged to the Crown of France, and were ceded as a part of Canada, which I apprehend was not the case, 2dly on a pretended old French Grant which I understand is either groundless and never existed, or is obsolete, and such as was never admitted even amongst the French themselves. 3dly on other Grants pretended to have been made to a few particular People by General Murray, when he was Commanding Officer in the Town and Garrison of Quebec, which being Monopolies, I have always consider'd as illegal and injurious to the common rights of the rest of the King's Subjects, particularly to British Adventurers. 4thly on a Grant pretended to have been made the 1st May 1764 by His present Majesty, which I have no knowledge of; I therefore in conformity to the King's Instructions, have not dared to allow or encourage any such exclusive possessions of Lands, Territories or Fisheries, to be taken or held by any Persons whatever, on the aforemention'd or any other pretentions whatever.
Yet as the said Claims and pretentions to such exclusive Possessions and Monopolies, have been thought of sufficient weight for preventing the 30 passing of an Act of Parliament intended for remedy of the great mischiefs and confusion which reigns there, for encouraging British Adventurers & for removing the many obstructions and discouragements to extending and improving the Fisheries; and as the Suits and Complaints against me, for disallowing of those Claims and pretentions have been lately revived. I hope I shall stand excused for stating the Delemma I am in, and for desiring it may be taken into consideration, whether I ought to have any and what
informations for my guidance in future in these matters, that if I am to allow of any exclusive Possessions of the Coast or Islands, or Monopolies of the Fishery, or of any Branches thereof to the exclusion of British Adventurers, I desire it may be distinguished what parts thereof and to whom, for altho' I have hitherto avoided being troublesome by applications for explanations of my Instructions, and only studied (as I always shall) how I can best execute them by a steady pursuit of what upon the best Judgment I am able to form of those matters, and of the true intent and meaning of my Instructions most for the general benefit of His Majesty's Subjects, without partiality or unlawfull distinctions, yet, as matters now stand, I am doubtfull how far I can with safety support British Adventurers in the enjoyment of the Rights and Privileges which they have ever enjoyed under the Laws, Customs, and usages of the Fishery, and which I have assured them of in the King's Name, as hitherto I thought I ought and was authorized to do, and not to abandon them and that whole Coast to the rapine and plunder of Lawless Crews from the Plantations mixed with French. His Majesty's Instructions expressly directing me, not to allow, or encourage any thing to be done contrary or repugnant to the Act of the 10th & 11th of William 3d in any of the Islands, or Territories under my Government.
What I have now the honour to lay before Your Lordships, I beg may not be construed to imply, that I entertain in my mind, the least apprehensions that any projects of those People to the prejudice of the Fishery of Great Britain, will ever find Encouragement from any of His Majs Ministers, it is from the fullest confidence I have ever had of the contrary, that I have hitherto treated with disdain, all the attempts made by those People, to prevail on me, or to terrify me into a complyance with any of their Projects, which I have conceived to be contrary to the King's Instructions, Repugnant to the Laws, Customs and usages of the Fishery, prejudicial to the common Rights of His Majesty's Subjects, particularly to British Adventurers and to the Navigation of this Kingdom, and favourable to the French and to Clandestine Trade.
I have the honor to be with the greatest Respect.
Most obedient and Most Humble Servant,
London, 6th April 1768.
To The Right Honorable the Lords Commissioners For Trade and Plantations.