must set out with an advantage over the individuals that come from this country. Is it necessary to take great pains to show you that they have their eyes upon this country; that there is no part of their trade to which they pay more attention; that they will strive to avail themselves, from the similarity of manners and religion, of every opportunity of introducing their fishery, to the exclusion of that carried on by British subjects? Is it necessary to say that French manufacturers will, by this means be introduced into Canada? If the noble lord has a mind to regulate the seal and sea-cow fishery, for God's sake let him confine this bill to one or two points, and leave the rest to a future session. Surely this cannot be too great a compliment to pay to that fishery which is of so much importance to us. The very existence of this nation depends on its naval power; and everybody knows that the great foundation of the British navy are the fisheries and the coasting trade.
Mr. EDMUND BURKE.—I cannot think that the gentlemen opposite will not give way to so reasonable a request. We have proceeded with this mischievous bill thus far. Is not this enough, without obliquely bringing into it another branch—without deranging the whole nautical policy of the country? It is true, that the government of Newfoundland is of a more arbitrary nature than that of Quebec; a military officer, living on board a man-of-war, being the governor of that place? But to say that these people will, by the bill, be put in a better condition, is to say nothing to the purpose. They are sent there to form a nursery for the navy; and that is the best government for them which best accomplishes that end. Cannot the government of Quebec be settled without this clause? The best way would be to bring in a separate bill for Newfoundland; and then the sedentary and the transitory fisheries, would be legitimate objects of inquiry; but here, while we are discussing the boundaries of Canada, we find ourselves in the middle of the fisheries on the banks of Newfoundland. Let trade be regulated upon principles of trade, government upon principles of government, and the navy upon principles best calculated to rear recruits for the navy; but let us not jumble together, in so oblique a manner, parties so very discordant. Let us not, for the sake of hooking in the fishery, give a boundary to Canada which is by no means necessary or expedient, and thereby create further difficulties.
The SOLICITOR-GENERAL.(³)—It is extremely difficult, upon such a point as this, to contend, or to appear to contend, against the authority of the honourable gentleman, to whom it may, perhaps, be very truly said, that this country owes all the fishery it has upon the coast of Newfoundland. Yet I will beg the indulgence of the committee while I state, in a few words, how the different opinions entertained upon it may, in my view of them, be recontiled. It is not, I maintain, foreign to the purpose of this bill, to consider whether it is better to annex the Labrador coast to Canada, or to throw it into
³ Alexander Wedderburn. He was appointed Solicitor-general in 1771, and held the office till 1778, when he was advanced to that of Attorney-general; and, in 1780, was made Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, and raised to the peerage by the title of Baron Loughborough: in 1793, he was appointed Lord Chancellor, which high situation he held till 1801, when he was created Earl of Rosslyn. He died in 1805.
any other government. To come to a correct conclusion, the committee should take into its consideration the present state of that coast, and the manner in which the fishery is carried on. In 1763, the coast of Labrador was made part of the government of Newfoundland. Upon that coast an advantage is to be derived by fixing a fishery, to be exercised at a particular season of the year, which does not interfere with the regular cod fishery; and if this object is obtained, it is so much gain to the country. But, though annexed to the government of Newfoundland, gentlemen know that the governor stays there no longer than to the end of the fishery: after that time there is no resident government; so that the Labrador coast must either be annexed to the government of Newfoundland or to that of Quebec, or there must be an especial governor appointed for that district. If annexed to the government of Quebec, there will be magistrates, under the authority of the governor, acting there to inquire into and settle any disputes that may happen. The cod fishery, as exercised there, I take to be a subject perfectly distinct. I think no evil could arise to that fishery if, by express words, the government of Newfoundland had the same power and authority given to them upon the coast of Labrador as is given, by the act of King William, with regard to the Newfoundland fishery; and I shall submit these words—“Provided always, that nothing shall extend to take from the powers of the governor of Newfoundland, during the season of fishery, all persons concerned in the cod fishery; but that they be extended to the cod fishery in the territories last before mentioned.”
Captain PHIPPS.—These words will not at all cure the evil; because the residents, who carry on the sea-cow and seal fishery, will have possession of the land, and will thereby have every opportunity of carrying on the cod fishery with impunity, to the injury of this country. My learned friend holds out a plausible protection to the cod fishery, and at the same time cuts it up by the roots.
Mr. CAVENDISH, after some further debate, divided the committee on the question that that part of the clause which relates to Newfoundland should stand part of the bill: Ayes, 89; Noes 48. (¹)
Friday, June 10.
Sir CHARLES WHITWORTH reported to the House the amendments which the Committee had made to the bill. The first clause being read, there was much puzzling about settling the boundary line. Mr. Edmund Burke, Mr. Jackson, Mr. Baker, and Sir Charles Whitworth went up stairs, in order to settle it, while the House was supposed to be proceeding upon it. The House continued for at least half an hour doing nothing in the meantime. The difference was, whether the tract of country not inhabited should belong
¹ “The danger of losing the fisheries, and the feeble manner in which the proviso was supported, induced me to vote against the words being in the bill.”—H. C.
to New York or Canada? At five o'clock, Mr. Edmund Burke returned with the amendments; some of which were agreed to, others not. The following is the clause as finally agreed to by the House:—
“That all the territories, islands, and countries in North America, belonging to the Crown of Great Britain, bounded on the south by a line from the Bay of Chaleurs, along the high lands which divide the rivers that empty themselves into the river St. Lawrence from those which fall into the sea, to a point in forty-five degrees of northern latitude, on the eastern bank of the river Connecticut, keeping the same latitude directly west, through the lake Champlain, until, in the same latitude, it meets the river St. Lawrence; from thence up the eastern bank of the said river to the lake Ontario; thence through the lake Ontario, and the river commonly called Niagara; and thence along by the eastern and south-eastern bank of lake Erie, following the said bank, until the same shall be intersected by the northern boundary, granted by the charter of the province of Pennsylvania, in case the same shall be so intersected; and from thence along the said northern and western boundaries of the said province, until the said western boundary strike the Ohio; but in case the said bank of the said lake shall not be found to be so intersected, then following the said bank until it shall arrive at that point of the said bank which shall be nearest to the north-western angle of the said province of Pennsylvania, and thence, by a right line, to the said north-western angle of the said province; and thence along the western boundary of the said province, until it strike the river Ohio; and along the bank of the said river, westward to the banks of the Mississippi, and northward to the southern boundary of the territory granted to the merchants adventurers of England trading to Hudson's Bay; and also all such territories, islands, and countries, which have, since the 10th of February 1763, been made part of the government of Newfoundland, be, and they are hereby, during his Majesty's pleasure, annexed to, and made part and parcel of, the province of Quebec, as created and established by the said royal proclamation of the 7th of October 1763.
“Provided always, that nothing herein contained, relative to the boundary of the province of Quebec, shall in anywise affect the boundaries of any other colony.”