p. 1160 N
LETTER FROM GEORGE CARTWRIGHT TO LORD
14th Sept. 1775.
LABRADOR, DARTMOUTH PAPERS, 1775, SEPT. 14TH , pp. 134-142.
I received with the greatest pleasure Your Lordships favor of the 17th of April last, and beg your acceptance of my sincerest thanks for the honor you have done me by writing so long and kind a Letter.
The Seal fisheries all over this Coast and Newfoundland failed entirely last winter; the Oil Killed by all the Crews will not pay one half the damage of the craft, yet the assurances the Adventurers have of being protected in the enjoyment of their Posts have made them fit out again this Season with as much spirit as if they had been successful last. Several new Posts will be established, but how many I could not learn as I have been here most parts of the Summer; We have taken one near this place. Five new Salmon Rivers have been fish'd this season, and turn'd out well, but as it always must be with new establishments, the most advantage has not been made of them for want of their being in proper order. Next year if no new regulations are made prejudicial to our interests every branch of the fisheries will be increas'd near one fourth of what they are at present. I know of some Posts taken on this side the Seal-Islands which are thirty Leagues to the Northward of Chateau. We built a new Cod Stage this Spring and Mr. Coghlan an other, the season was very late but it proved a good one at last. The lee continued much longer on the Coast than usual, I am inform'd many Ships have been lost on the Newfoundland Coast, one of ours received a good deal of damage, and I was catch'd with it at Mid summer, forc'd on shore on the Isle of Ponds, lay three Days upon rocks wedg'd in with lee and had a Gale of wind with frost and snow the whole time, the boat open'd and leak'd so fast I expected she would have fallen asunder every instant, I was oblig'd to heave half the cargo, which was Salt in Hogsheads, overboard, it was twelve days afterwards before we were able to proceed, & then ran through large pieces of scatter'd Ice as close as we could steer through it for eleven Leagues with a fresh of wind in dread every minute of either striking upon it and foundering, or its closing and squeezing us to pieces. We should have occupied an other Salmon River, but for a melancholic affair which happen'd to the furring Crew we sent here last, year, they wasted their provisions, were starved to Death before I got round with a supply.
We have taken possession of all the Salmon Rivers in this Bay; and shall keep twenty-seven people here this winter to put them in order for next Season and have order'd ninety four new nets to be on purpose for them besides eighteen we had out this Spring. I am told that both Mr. Pinson and Mr. Coghlan, hearing how well this place turn'd out, intend sending Crews round next spring to dispossess us, pretending that we did not occupy the other four rivers this summer they have as good a right to them as us, but as we first discover'd them, have set up our marks, order'd nets and every requisite for fishing them next Season, and keep an extraordinary number of hands here this winter in order to prepare them in time, and they have never have been here, or even knew of them but from the report of our Servants, I am well assured Your Lordship will not allow of such proceedings.
* * * *
Most oblig'd and