The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume III

20 March,

Captain Cartwright's application.

24 May,

Captain Cartwright's application for Touktoke Bay.

p. 1178                                 N

No. 319.


PRIVY COUNCIL E, pp. 148, 305.

Thursday, 20th March, 1788.


His Excellency The Right Honourable Guy, Lord Dorchester, Governor.
The Honourable, Henry Hope Esquire Lieutenant Governor.
William Smith Esquire, Chief Justice.
Hugh Finlay
Thomas Dunn
Edwd. Harrison
John Collins
Adam Mabane
J. G. C. De Lery
George Pownall
Picotté De Bellestre
John Fraser
  Henry Caldwell
  William Grant
  Paul Roc De St. Ours
  Francis Baby
  Jos. De Longueuil Esquire
  Sir John Johnson Bart.
  Chas. De La Naudiere
  René Am. Boucherville
  Le Cte. Dupré—Esquires
      The Report of the Committee on Captain Cartwright's application, for a Grant at Touktoke Bay on the Coast of La Bradore, and an exclusive privilege of fishing in that Bay, with the translation, again read; Ordered—that it be referred to the consideration of the whole Council in Committee, to report upon with all convenient speed.

24th May, 1788.

      The Report of the Committee of the whole Council to whom was referred The Report of the Special Committee upon Captain Cartwright's application for the exclusive Property of Touktoke Bay, on the Coast of Labrador, and for a Grant of Lands there; read as follows, viz.:—
            To His Excellency The Right Honourable Guy Lord       Dorchester, Captain General & Governor in chief of the       Colonies of Quebec, Nova Scotia & New Brunswick and their       dependencies; Vice-Admiral of the same; General and       Commander in chief of all His Majesty's forces in the said       Colonies and the Island of New Foundland, &c. &c. &c.

p. 1179

      Report of the whole Council, in Committee, to whom by Your Excellency's order in Council of the 20th of March last, was referred. The Report of the Special Committee upon Captain Cartwright's application for the exclusive property of Touktoke bay, on the Labrador Coast, for the purpose of a Fishery, and for a Grant of Lands there. The Committee met, at the Council Chamber Thursday the 3d of April 1788.


The Honourable Henry Hope Esquire Lieut. Governor.
William Smith Esquire Chief Justice.
Edward Harrison
John Collins
Adam Mabane
J. G. C. De Lery
George Pownall
Picotte De Bellestre
John Fraser
Henry Caldwell
William Grant
  Paul Roc De St. Ours
  Francis Baby
  Jos. De Longueuil
  George Davison—Esquires
  Sir John Johnson Bart.
  Chas. De La Naudiere
  René Am. De Boucherville
  Le Cte. Dupré—Esquires.
His Honour The Lieut. Governor in the Chair.

      The Report of the special Committee was read in both Languages, by the Clerks.
      The 36th Article of His Majesty's Instructions to Your Lordship dated at St. James's the 23d. of August 1786 with a translation was read, whereof follows a Copy:—
           “On all such parts of the Coast where there are no Canadian       possessions, and more especially where a valuable Cod-fishery       may be carried on, it will be your duty to make the interest of       our British Subjects going out to fish there, in Ships fitted out       from Great Britain, the first object of your care, and as far as       circumstances will admit to establish on that Coast the       regulations in favour of British Fishing ships which have been so       wisely adopted by the Act of Parliament passed in the Reign of       King William the Third, for the encouragement of the New       foundland fishery; and you are on no account to allow any       possession to be taken, or Sedentary fisheries to be Established,       upon any parts of the Coast, that are not already private       property, by any persons whatsoever, except only such as shall       produce annually a Certificate of their having fitted out from       some port in Great Britain.”
      And Your Excellency's order of Reference to the Special Committee dated the 25th of June 1787, read in the following words, viz:—
“25th June 1787.
            “His Excellency communicated to the Council a letter from       Lord Sydney, dated Whitehall 5th April 1787 concerning       Captain Cartwright's

p. 1180

      application for a Grant, and the exclusive property of Touktoke       bay, on the Labrador Coast, for the purpose of a fishery, with       several other papers upon that subject;—Referred to the       Committee named the 31st of May for the Fisheries.“

      The Lieutenant Governor proceeded to read over, a second time, the Report of the special Committee, by paragraphs. The first part read in the words following:—

            “At a Committee of Council appointed to consider the       Subject of the Fisheries in the Province, and to whom was       referred sundry papere, transmitted by Lord Sydney one of His       Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, relative to an       application made by Captain Cartwright for a Grant in       Sandwich-bay and for the exclusive property of Touktoke-bay,       both on the Coast of Labradore.


“Messieurs Finlay                 
                    Harrison, Pownall,
    Baby &

            “Who beg leave to report to His Excellency The Right       Honourable Lord Dorchester,
            “That they have attentively perused the papers referred to       them, and beg permission to lay before Your Lordship, a       concise sketch of Captn. Cartwright's case, taken from his own       statement.”

      In the year 1770 he embarked in England, and sailed for Charles-River on the Coast of Labrador, on a scheme to prosecute very extensive fisheries on that shore.
      In 1771 he established a Seal-Fishery at Cape Charles, a Salmon Fishery in Charles River, and Cod Fishery round Charles Harbour. He explored a considerable extent of Coast in order to discover the Scites for Sedentary fisheries, and with a view to secure a friendly intercourse with the Esquimaux Indians.
      He exerted himself by every means in his power, for thirteen years, to improve the fisheries on the Labrador Coast; but tho' his unwearied endeavours benefited the Mother Country they ended in his ruin; for after struggling with unforeseen crosses, he and those concerned with him, sunk upwards of £20,000. He represents that repeated Shipwrecks, Depredations of the Enemy, Fire, and the Manouvres of Messrs. Noble & Pinson (sedentary Fishers on that Coast) obliged him to abandon Labrador, and on his return to England he was made a Bankrupt.

p. 1181

      He sets forth that the discoveries he made, extended the Fisheries on that coast for more than seventy leagues, and that by his success in gaining the confidence of the Esquimaux, and in bringing about a friendly intercourse between that Nation and the Mountaineers—the fur trade is greatly increased, and the King's Subjects frequenting that Coast, now pursue their business unmolested by the Natives.
      Captain Cartwright seems to think that he is intitled to some recompence for the advantages he has procured to the Mother Country, and he wishes to have it in his power to look for a fortune on that Coast where he lost one, and with that intent he prays for a Grant in Sandwich bay which Noble & Pinson now possess, notwithstanding 'twas he who first Established a Seal fishery there. He says it would be but rendering him bare justice, and a merited punishment of that House for their reprehensible conduct towards him; and he further prays to have the Exclusive right to Touktoke-bay with all the Islands there in lying, and a tract of Land running half a mile back from high water mark, all round the Bay; his sole view in praying for this Grant is to carry on the seal Fishery, and a Trade with the friendly Indians, who reside chiefly in that bay. He pretends that if they are left open to the inroads of petty Adventurers, these people will be totally undone by getting nought in Exchange for their commodities but Rum, whilst they stand in need of coarse cloth, blankets, and other English manufactures.
      Lord Sydney's Letter of the 5th of April last, notes that His Lordship would be very glad to favour Captain Cartwright's wishes, if it could be done without affecting the property of other people.
      The Lieutenant Governor after having read the foregoing part of the Report of the special Committee, proceeded to read the following paragraph,

      It is to be presumed that though Captain Cartwright may have been the first to establish a Seal-fishery in Sandwich-bay, Noble & Pinson could not have set themselves down there, whilst Capt. Cartwright occupied it, according to the rules established for regulating the Fisheries on that Coast.

      The Question was put “Whether this Committee concur in opinion with the special Committee on the foregoing clause, or not?”— Debates arose—It was carried in the affirmative by 16 Ayes agst. 2 Nayes.

Mr. JUDGE MABANE in the Negative.

      The Lieutenant Governor then read the next paragraph in the words following,
            “From the want of Information respecting the local situation       of Touktoke-bay, the Committee cannot with any accuracy       ascertain whether the Canadian Grants extend so far, but they       have understood that Cape Charles is the furthermost       establishment for the fishery of Seals, made under the antient       Government. The Committee conceive from the Circumstances       related in Captain Cartwright's case, of Canadians

p. 1182

      having wintered in Touktoke-bay in 1785 and 1786, and of two       Englishmen having been there in great distress, that it is an inlet       of the Sea ten leagues deep, within the great Esquimaux bay, far       North of Cape Charles, where a Canadian Crew, fitted out       from hence, actually did winter, and where two Englishmen       were cast on shore and suffered great hardship.

      The Question of concurrence was put on this paragraph, and it was carried unanimously in the affirmative.

      The Lieutenant Governor read the following paragraph.
            “By the 36th Article of His Majesty's Instructions to Your Lordship bearing date the 23rd of August 1785, the Committee find that possession is not to be taken or sedentary fisheries established, on any parts of the Coast of Labrador, except by such as shall produce a Certificate of their having fitted out from some port in Great Britain.”

      Then the Lieutenant Governor proceeded to read the following paragraph,
            “The Committee therefore humbly conceive that if it shall be       Your Excellency's desire to grant Captain Cartwright's prayer       for the Touktoke fishery, with an extent of Land half a mile in       depth from High-water mark all around the Bay, with its Islands,       the Possessor, whilst the 36th Article of His Majesty's       Instructions is in force, could not exclude Adventurers fitted out       in Britain from establishing fisheries in such parts of the Bay as       might remain unoccupied by him, notwithstanding any grant of       the shore made to him.

      And the Question of concurrence was put thereon. It was carried unanimously in the Negative, without a division.

      The Lieutenant Governor read the next paragraph in the following words,
      “It seems to the Committee that the appointment of Justices of the peace (as Captain Cartwright wishes) on that extensive Coast, where there's no civil Officer to support the authority of a Magistrate, by executing his Warrants, nor places for holding Offenders in confinement, would answer but little purpose in checking improper proceedings in that distant part of the province.

      The Question of concurrence was put, and carried unanimously in the Affirmative.

      The Lieutenant Governor then read the last paragraph of the Report in the words following,

      They most humbly submit whether a small armed Vessel commanded by an officer of Your Excellency's appointment, and in the Commission of the peace, might not be of service in cruising along that Coast, visiting each



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